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Over 2900 Congolese have fled to Rwanda since November

The number of Congolese refugees fleeing conflict in eastern DR Congo since November 2022 has reached 2,943.Over 2900 Congolese have fled to Rwanda since November

On Sunday, January 15, Rwandan officials received 18 refugees, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management.

The fleeing Congolese mainly come from North Kivu province where developments in the past week have raised red flags about the intentions of the Congolese government and military, and their sincerity in sticking to the roadmap agreed in Luanda. There are fears of renewed fighting between the M23 rebels and the coalition including the Congolese army and armed militia groups such as the FDLR, a genocidal militia from Rwanda.

 

FDLR genocidal militia are fighting along the DR Congo army in its battle against the M23 rebel group in the eastern DR Congo. Refugees flee fighting in DR CONGO
FDLR genocidal militia are fighting along the DR Congo army in its battle against the M23 rebel group in the eastern DR Congo. Refugees flee fighting in DR CONGO

Congolese Tutsi communities are especially subjected to widespread hate speech, discrimination, hostility, and violence rooted in the genocide ideology spread by the genocidal militia, FDLR, and embraced by the Congolese leadership and security organs.

 

As of Monday morning, 632 refugees were hosted at Kijote Transit Centre in Nyabihu District while 416 were in Nkamira transit camp.

Since the start of January, some of the new arrivals have been transferred to Mahama refugee camp in Kirehe District in the Eastern Province.

According to the ministry, 1,760 refugees are in Mahama camp, which is already home to tens of thousands of Congolese and Burundian refugees. Two are receiving treatment at the Kanombe Military Hospital and two others are in the community.

The first group of Congolese refugees fleeing the current conflict arrived in Rwanda on November 13, 2020, when the M23 offensive approached Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, which neighbours Rubavu District, in Western Province.

For over the past two decades, tens of thousands of people have fled violence in eastern DR Congo, seeking refuge in Rwanda. As of November 2022, there were more than 72,000 Congolese refugees in Rwanda. Some have lived in refugee camps in the country for more than 25 years.

Over the past two decades, the government of Rwanda has facilitated 22,000 Congolese refugees to relocate to other countries in Europe, North America and Australia.

Kigali says Kinshasa remains unwilling to initiate a voluntary repatriation mechanism.

Except for the voluntary return of around 4,000 Congolese refugees in 2003, no other organized voluntary repatriation facilitated by Kinshasa and the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has happened.

Despite that, a tripartite agreement on the repatriation of Congolese refugees was signed between the Government of Rwanda, the DR Congo, and UNHCR on February 17, 2010.

Kinshasa, by and large, denies the existence of Congolese refugees in Rwanda, something seen as an attempt by the Congolese government to divert attention from the real reasons why these refugees exist in the first place.

According to Kigali, there is also an unwillingness on the part of the international community to face up to the root causes of conflict in eastern DR Congo, and to demand true accountability from the state and non-state actors who are responsible for the resulting legacy of failure.

Over 2,900 Congolese have fled to Rwanda since November
Over 2,900 Congolese have fled to Rwanda since November

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