Tourists, hoteliers, re-assured of safety in volcanoes park

Earlier Wednesday, government officials and members of security organs led by Rwanda Development Board CEO, Clare Akamanzi, met tourists and tourism stakeholders in Musanze District.

Akamanzi joined more than 120 tourists who were about to trek the mountain gorillas to assure them of the safety and security, despite the recent attack in the region.

“This is an isolated incident,” she said referring to the attack by assailants in different sectors in Musanze district in which at least 14 residents were killed.

She added: “But we take the safety of our country and the people extremely serious and I want to assure you that security has fully been restored.”

Last week, a group of unknown assailants attacked Kinigi Sector, in Musanze District, leaving 14 dead and 19 injured.

However, security forces were able to quickly contain the terrorists, who were later identified to belong to FDLR, specifically its off-shoot, calling itself RUD-Urunana.

Keith Vincent, the CEO of Wilderness Safaris and owner of Bisate Lodge, one of the high-end facilities in Kinigi Sector. / Courtesy

FDLR is a rebel group operating the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, comprised of members responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. 

In the subsequent pursuit of the killers by Rwanda Defence Force and other security organs, 19 of the attackers were killed and five were captured alive.

Officials who were meeting the stakeholders on Wednesday, including hotel managers and owners as well as tour and travel companies, assured them that safety and security had been normalised.

"One of the key economic pillars of this country has been security. It remains a priority and we take it seriously. We want to make sure that this never happens again," Akamanzi told stakeholders.

Brig-Gen Vincent Gatama, the Second Division Commander of the Rwanda Defence Force (RDF), described the recent incident as a terror attack, not a protracted attack.

"This means it is something that we are able to deal, and do away with. I am assuring you that the property, the security of people and your businesses is protected," he noted.

He told the stakeholders that the terrorists never intended to target businesses but Government installations and "we stopped them before going there."

Jean-Léonard Harelimana, one of the hotel managers told The New Times that they had not had cancellations of bookings from clients.

"We have not had any cancellation from our clients. There were curious to know their safety is guaranteed and we assured them that there is no problem," he said.

RDB says since Saturday, about 600 tourists have visited the endeared mountain gorillas, a reflection that tourism remains stable in the region.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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