Another batch of Congolese refugees relocated to Mahama camp

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Refugees boarded buses today morning heading to their new camp in Kirehe district.

The Ministry in charge of Emergency Management (MINEMA) has resumed activities to relocate Congolese refugees from Gihembe camp located in Gicumbi district to Mahama camp located in Kirehe district which recently accommodated Burundian refugees.

A total of 538 refugees from 119 families have moved to Mahama today morning while more 500 are expected to be relocated on Thursday this week.

MINEMA plans to relocate at least 1000 refugees every week until the exercise to resettle 9,992 refugees from Gihembe camp is completed by December 2021.

They are joining more than 2,393 refugees from 520 families relocated to Mahama camp in May 2021.

Refugees being relocated were settled in Gihembe camp 23 years ago.

IGIHE has learned that the relocation is meant to accommodate them in decent shelters because buildings at Gihembe camp are old that refugees would be prone to disasters during the rainy season.

The camp will be demolished after resettling refugees.

The manager of Gihembe camp, Goretti Murebwayire said that some of the refugees’ belongings will not be moved immediately.

“We are ready to transport their properties but there must be preparations to assess if they will get pasture for their cows. We cannot take cows to the camp but we will help refugees notifying us that they have got land,” she said.

Refugees said that is ready to mix with the new community considering the appreciation of colleagues relocated in the first batches.

“We have welcomed the decision because it is necessary. Besides, we are still in the same country and we are joining our colleagues resettled recently,” said Sifa Nyirakamana, 23.

Fabrice Nkurunziza who arrived in Gihembe in 2012 coming from Nkambi transit camp based in Rubavu district said that colleagues from Mahama have spoken well of the living conditions in the new camp.

“They have been telling us that everything is going well. So, we are ready for integration in the new community,” he said.

Another refugee identified as Patrick Sebuhoro thanked the Government of Rwanda for providing support to lead a decent life.

“We have run short of nothing in Rwanda. We are grateful,” he noted.

Refugees from Gihembe camp recently expressed worries over relocation to Mahama claiming that the exercise would leave some of them leaving their occupations.

IGIHE has learned that refugees not willing to leave jobs are allowed to stay in the area.

The representative of the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to Rwanda, Boubacar Bamba has thanked the Government of Rwanda for the decision to relocate refugees from risky zones.

“It is a good decision to save refugees’ lives. The relocation won’t affect them negatively because they will continue receiving support,” he said.

Refugees boarded buses today morning heading to their new camp in Kirehe district.

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