One hundred refugees mainly women and children, last week, returned to Rwanda from the Democratic Republic of Congo after 17 years in exile.
The returnees said they were happy to return and received a warm welcome, contrary to what they were told before returning. They claimed to have security fears as a result of the misinformation they received while in DRC where they were told they would be killed if they returned.
Their repatriation was facilitated by the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in both Rwanda and DRC.
Tabitha Nishimwe, a 24 year old mother who left Rwanda in 1994 aged 7, lost her husband who was a rebel with Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, said she had suffered enough.
“I am happy to return home and I am hopeful for a better life,” Nishimwe said.
The returnees will spend two days at Nkamira Transit Centre from where they will be provided transport to return to their respective home areas.
“We are happy for the support given to us by UNHCR especially non food items and other home appliances like kitchen utensils, to start a new life,” said Celeste Habarurema, a returnee.
The World Food Program provides food items such as flour, rice and beans that lasts the returnees three months as they settle to prepare their farms.
Habarurema said there are still very many refugees in DRC calling upon them to return voluntarily since Rwanda is now safe.