Rwanda: Police arrests 33 Burundian refugees over incitement

Rwanda: Police arrests 33 Burundian refugees over incitement
29-03-2018 | By Karegeya Jean Baptiste | Hit 3900 | Comment

Leaders in Burundian refugees settles in Rwanda are alleged to incite fellows to reject any assistance from these institutions. As a result of instigating violence among fellow refugees, 33 ringleaders were identified and arrested, after an official joint team visit to camps.

According to Rwandan police, via its website, stakeholders in refugee matters carried out a physical verification visit to refugee camps housing Burundian refugees in Bugesera, Nyanza and Rusizi districts yesterday, Wednesday 28 March.

A joint team was made of officials from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, Ministry of Health, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and other stakeholders.

The 33 arrested refugees include 31 at Gashora Transit Centre-Bugesera; one at Nyarushishi Transit Centre-Rusizi; and one at Muyira Transit Centre-Nyanza. They are all Zebiah followers who rejected industrial food since they came in Rwanda, leaving Kamanyola camp in DRC early this month.

On March 7, more than 2500 Burundian refugees abandoned their camps in South Kivu province of DR Congo and crossed into Rwanda. They had been living in Nyarushishi transit camp in Rusizi district until last week when the process to relocate them to other areas, began.

A bigger number of them, 1590 refugees were relocated to a transit centre in Gashora – Bugesera district which is miles away from their home country. Other 600 were relocated to Muyira transit camp in Nyanza district.
KT Press says that according to an official from Ministry of disaster Management and Refugee Affairs – Midimar on Wednesday the camp officials in Bugesera district wanted to do a physical verification of the refugees. They refused.

It should be reminded that the refugees, since their entry into Rwanda, refused any biometric registration and vaccination yet there is cholera in the country of origin.

When the transit camp officials approached the refugees representatives trying to seek explanation as of why they cannot be counted, all the refugees stood up, shouted violently in protest, according to the communication staff at Midimar.

Apparently, he said, the refugees are attached to a belief which is not flexible per say.

He said, since their entry into Rwanda, they declined to be registered with biometric system, and they have now refused even physical verification, which is the usual counting. With this, he said, it is difficult to integrate them in a camp.

Previously the refugees said that Virgin Mary Mother of Jesus said that they should never be registered.

Meanwhile, the refugees have also declined to be vaccinated which, according to Midimar, is a bad thing because they come from a country affected with Cholera.
The latest protest by Burundians follows that of Congolese at Kiziba camp in Karongi district (western Rwanda). The Congolese were reacting to cuts in their food rations by the UN, and 11 of them lost lives in protests.

The incitement, an act punishable by the penal code, was endangering the lives of refugees in the camp, as well as that of officials. However, the situation in all the camps remains calm.

Jean Baptiste Karegeya

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