GICUMBI - Congolese refugees living at Gihembe refugee camp want to be repatriated to their country.
The refugees made the remarks, Wednesday, in Gicumbi District while marking the eighth commemoration of their fallen relatives who were killed by the Interahamwe militia in Mudende, Northern Rwanda.
According to the refugees, over 1,650 people were killed.
The event, preceded by a march through the camp, attracted several dignitaries from the Congolese government and local government officials.
The refugees appealed to their government to urgently address their day-to-day challenges seeking for means to repatriate them.
“We are tired of living in these tents and poor feeding. We want education for our children. We want our country to restore security so that we go back and enjoy our full rights,” said Jean Paul Munaziri.
However, some expressed concern about the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia, who still pose a security threat in the region.
Ruth Nyirabakobwa, a mother of two who has lived in a camp for 16 years said: “We want to rebuild ourselves in our country, because we cannot improve our lives in the current situation.
“We request the officials concerned to advocate for security and peace in our country more urgently,” she said.
The Congolese Minister of Justice who is also in charge of refugee affairs, Francois Tuyihimbaze Rucogoza, was the chief guest. He acknowledged the problems the refugees were facing and disclosed that plans were underway to repatriate them.
”We are doing everything possible to repatriate you. We will hold a meeting together with the government here which is aimed at seeing how they could be repatriated,” Rucogoza said.
Commenting on security concerns, he noted that the most affected areas by FDLR was in Walikale, part of eastern Congo.
Rucogoza, however, added that peace and security is being restored in Goma where most of the refugees hail from.
“I assure freedom to those who are willing to return. We are also strengthening the committee in charge of refugees.”
Mayor Tumbula Rashidi of Goma, echoed similar sentiments, assuring his compatriots of a warm reception and resettlement.
Damien Sharangabo, the Executive Secretary of Kageyo Sector, called on refugees to have hope as both governments were looking into their matters.