Rubavu settlers appeal to immigration to use national IDs to cross border

People who were relocated from Nyabihu District to Kanembwe Sector in Rubavu District, have appealed to immigration authorities to allow them cross to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) using their national identity cards like other residents do.
An immigration officer checks people's documents at the Rwanda- DR Congo border. Rubavu residents are only required to use IDs to cross into DRC. The New Times / John Mbanda.
An immigration officer checks people's documents at the Rwanda- DR Congo border. Rubavu residents are only required to use IDs to cross into DRC. The New Times / John Mbanda.

People who were relocated from Nyabihu District to Kanembwe Sector in Rubavu District, have appealed to immigration authorities to allow them cross to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) using their national identity cards like other residents do.

More than 400 families were relocated two years ago as part of efforts to conserve Gishwati Forest in Nyabihu and Rubavu districts.  

People who acquired their national identity cards from Rubavu district don’t need any travel document to cross to the DRC apart from their IDs and this leaves out the settlers, who mainly acquired their cards from Nyabihu District.

Many people in this district depend on small scale cross-border trade between the towns of Gisenyi and Goma in the DRC.

“Now that we were relocated here in Rubavu, our IDs should be recognised as residents. But we are considered as aliens in the district,” said Karera Basabose, one of the newcomers.

The appeal was made last week in Kanembwe, where Eosvisions, an education travel company in Africa, was paying medical insurance for more than 100 vulnerable people.

The company also contributed Rwf 600, 000 towards residents’ fund.  

Karera said since they don’t have enough land for cultivation, the only way to make a decent living is to make it easy for them to do cross-border business.

“We have forwarded our concerns to the authorities and we are still waiting for their response, but the travel document we are asked to possess before we can cross the border is expensive,” added Karera.

Eosvisions is facilitating their resettlement by leasing bigger chunks of land for them to cultivate maize for sale.

Etienne Nsabimana, the Executive Secretary of Kyanzarwe Sector, said the government is committed to promoting people’s wellbeing and everything is being done to ensure that all their grievances are addressed.  

alex.ngarambe@newtimes.co.rw

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