RUBAVU — The District Immigration office on Wednesday handed over to Congolese officials seven Congolese nationals arrested this week by Rwandan marines.
A patrol of the Rwanda Defence Forces marines captured the group after reportedly illegally crossing the boundaries to Rwanda through Lake Kivuwhich is shared by the two countries.
The captives, who claimed to be fishermen, thanked the Rwandan government for the hospitality and good treatment while in the country.
“Although we were caught in the wrong, we were treated well by the Rwandan authorities. None of us was tortured, beaten or mistreated. They instead explained to us the mistake we had committed …and here we are going back home with all our property. God bless the Rwandan government,” said Ismail Bahati, told DRC immigration officers shortly after crossing to their country. He explained that the treatment they received was far from what they expected after being arrested.
“We thought we were finished, we expected brutal treatment and many suspicions and accusation of being spies but to our surprise we received fair treatment,” he said, calling on his colleagues to always respect the boundaries not only on land but also on Lake Kivu.
On behalf of the district, Francois Senyenzi, the Rubavu District Immigration Officer, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to ensuring security of Congolese in Rwanda, though, many Rwandans visiting Goma were recently being mistreated there.
The New Times had earlier reported cases of increasing mistreatment and arrests of Rwandans visiting Goma.
Immigration officials in Rubavu said 12 Rwandans were in September arrested and released later after paying big ransoms to Congolese officials. They were accused of espionage.
Senyenzi, called upon his Goma counterparts to give fair treatment to Rwandans visiting there, stressing that the two sister towns had for years maintained a cordial relationship.
At the ceremony, the District Police Commander, Superintendent, Ernest Murayire, appealed to the Congolese to respect immigration procedures.
A Congolese official, after listening to account of their nationals, described the treatment given to them as unbelievable and commended the Rwandan government.