On Wednesday afternoon, border community, migration officers at Bugarama – Rusizi district which borders with DRC in the West of Rwanda were surprised by this influx of refugees.
They are carrying a few belongings with them, some even have their livestock.
Suddenly, Rwanda opened her border facility to welcome them- adding on an estimate 100,000 Burundian refugees already in the camps in Rwanda and cities since 2015.
The mayor of Rusizi district, Frederic Harerimana told Kigalitoday journalist – the sister media website to KT Press that they are working closely with UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to find a transit stay in Rwanda.
“We are first of all checking their identification, then we are studying possibilities to host them to Nyarushishi and Nyagatare transit camps which normally hosts returning Rwandan pending their reintegration in their families,” said Harerimana.
The transit centers, 1.5 hour drive from Bugarama also hosts other refugees in transit.
The Burundian refugees, the mayor says, echoed that their security in DRC is not assured, but they are yet to feel at ease and to tell us what threat they really faced.
“We are first of all making sure that they are secure as we work on other needs-Rwandan culture has always been to offer safe heaven to those in need,”mayor Harerimana said adding that tonight, the refugees will sleep at the transit camps.
Apparently, the refugees started fearing for their life since September 2017.
On September 16th 2017, a confrontation between the refugees and the DRC soldiers-FARDC left 18 refugees dead and dozens injured.
The bullets that were being fired near the border with Rwanda also killed a Rwandan citizen at Rusizi border.
It was reported that the confrontations were fueled by FARDC while arresting some Burundian refugees, allegedly for fueling insecurity in DRC.
Rwanda has recently reiterated her commitment to host refugees in need of shelter, regardless of their origin, whenever international agreements/rules on refugees are observed.