AKANYARU - Rwandan authorities have handed over three Burundian children to their parents at the Rwanda-Burundi border at Akanyaru, on Thursday.
The children, the eldest of whom is aged 16, had sneaked into Rwanda and turned into street children. They were picked up by Police at Nyabugogo Taxi Park in Kigali City in early May and handed over to the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion for follow up.
The excited parents thanked the Rwandan authorities for taking care of their children and facilitating the reunion.
“I am very excited to see my son; I am going to counsel him and lure him back to school, his siblings have advanced in school. I will make him understand that his future depends on education and not on the city streets,” said Claver Manirambona, 13-year old Thaddee Niyonsaba’s father.
Solange Umulisa, an official in charge of street children in the Ministry of Gender and Family Promotion, said that the children were treated well at various children’s centres in Kigali for a period of over three months in preparation for their repatriation.
“We have been in contact with the Burundian authorities and we are happy to hand over these children to their parents,” she said.
Damas Ndayisaba, 16, who is now committed to resuming school, said that the city had taught him a tough lesson.
“The city is not a place for me; I went to the city but it turned against me, I have lost time,” said the healthy looking boy from Kayanza Province in Burundi.
Police spokesman, Eric Kayiranga said that the repatriation exercise is one way of rooting out the problem of street children.
“We have agreed with our Burundian counterparts to play a greater role in looking after their children. They have committed themselves on this but as a government we are ready to handle any similar cases that may arise in future,” Kayiranga said.
He said efforts have been made through various forums including meetings of Police chiefs where issues to do with cross border crimes are discussed.
Kayiranga added that mechanisms have been put in place for security and local administration officials from several countries to meet and discuss security issues that may arise around the border districts.
The head of Interpol-Rwanda, Tony Kuramba, also witnessed the handover.