Karugarama clarifies on land wrangles involving Genocide survivors

NGOMA - The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, dismissed claims by some media outlets that the ongoing land saga involving Genocide survivors in Rukumberi Sector, Ngoma District is alarming, saying that the information was misleading and untrue.In a news conference, Karugarama refuted, as baseless, claims in the local media alleging that the saga has gotten out of hand and government was doing nothing to solve it.
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama
Justice Minister Tharcisse Karugarama

NGOMA - The Minister of Justice, Tharcisse Karugarama, dismissed claims by some media outlets that the ongoing land saga involving Genocide survivors in Rukumberi Sector, Ngoma District is alarming, saying that the information was misleading and untrue.

In a news conference, Karugarama refuted, as baseless, claims in the local media alleging that the saga has gotten out of hand and government was doing nothing to solve it.

Last month, Karugarama moved in to put to an end to the land dispute following complaints by some Genocide survivors under the umbrella, Association of Genocide Survivors of Rukumberi (AGSR), who claimed that their land had either been confiscated or sold.

Some survivors complained that their land was given out as sites for communal settlements while others lost their land during the land redistribution exercise.

“After receiving several divergent reports, I decided to go there myself. I made a prior notice to local authorities to notify all the survivors faced by this problem to be present so that we solve it, but no one turned up,” Karugarama said.

He said that resolutions were reached at as the basis for resolving the wrangles by the local leaders.

Among the resolutions, Karugarama said, all survivors whose land was set aside for settlement sites, will be compensated with other parcels or money, according to the law.

He said that guardians of the survivors who confiscated the latter’s property or sold it for their own benefit, to refund them.

Those who legally bought the property of the survivors from members of the family, Karugarama said, will remain with their property. 

Those who sold the property will be the ones to refund what they sold that did not belong to them.

He noted that those who wish to take legal action should enlist the services of free legal aid clinics established at all districts.

The government put three legal aid clinics in each district to offer legal services to vulnerable groups.

However, survivors stand to lose if their land was given out during the land distribution exercise, through genuine means as prescribed by the law.

About 20 Genocide survivors have, so far, lodged their complaints to local leaders that their land was confiscated or sold by guardians or taken by the government for putting up settlements.

Rukumberi, formerly in Sake Commune is one of the areas in the Eastern Province that  was severely affected by the Genocide.

Venuste Bisangabagabo, the sector’s Executive Secretary, yesterday, said that the dispute would be resolved by August 15.

“We have so far ironed out complaints of 11 people and we hope by the deadline (August 15), we will have solved the remaining (ones),” Bisangabagabo said in a telephone interview.

He explained that the remaining cases are those whose land was occupied by either guardians or other people.

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