Congolese nationals have continued to cross into Rwanda through La Corniche border post in Gisenyi Sector, Rubavu District in Western Province.
Congolese refugees crossing to Rwanda at La Corniche border in Rubavu yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira.
A joint team of UNHCR and officials from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs is stationed there to register those seeking asylum.
According to the officials, 215 Congolese had been registered from Monday evening up to yesterday at 2.45 P.M, as more refugees continued to flow into the country from different parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo including Masisi, Rushaki among others.
Statistics indicate that since Thursday, last week, more than 2,307 who are seeking a safe haven are harboured at Nkamira Transit Centre in Rubavu District.
After registration, refugees are directly taken to Nkamira transit centre where they are given food, shelter and other basic necessities.
Mireille Dederi, a MIDMAR official who was at the border revealed: “When they arrive, we immediately put them on UNHCR trucks and take then to the transit camp.”
Refugees who spoke to The New Times said they were escaping fighting between the DRC army and rebels who broke away from the national army.
“I spent three days walking to the border seeking refuge due to the ongoing fighting in my home area of Mibambwe. We hear that the war is between the government army and rebels,” Eduardo Kashidi a refugee said.
“I wanted peace that’s why I came to Rwanda. I am optimistic that I will get food because I have been well received,” he said.
He said he was unaware of his family’s whereabouts including his three children and wife fearing they may have been killed.
Josephine Mukarukaka, 65, said some people were caught in crossfire as fighting escalated, adding that she was fearing for her life in DR Congo.
“I live in Masisi. I have been walking from there for two days. I need at least a place to sleep. I was told by my neighbours to come and seek refuge here,” she said.
Sources indicate that those fleeing could also be escaping from various terror groups including the Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda (FDLR) and the Lord’s Resistance Army, led by the Ugandan fugitive, Joseph Kony.
UNHCR country representative, Neimah Warsame, and the Minister of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Gen. Marcel Gatsinzi, visited the border to assess the situation and held a meeting in Rubavu to find a common solution.
“There is a strong assessment team comprising MIDMAR and UNHCR to ensure they ascertain the exact number of those who need help. We are looking at providing shelter, food, hygiene and sanitation facilities as well as security to the refugees,” Warsame said.
Gatsinzi said they would reach a final solution after meeting with all the partners.
“We are going to discuss different issues. I hope after the meeting, we shall be able to come up with the way forward,” he said.
Source: The New Times