Rwanda closes its doors to refugees from the DRC

Rwanda closes its doors to refugees from the DRC

AA / Kinshasa / Pascal Mulegwa

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has announced that his country will no longer host refugees fleeing violence in eastern neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, amid tensions between the two countries.

“We have had refugees here for more than 20 years, from the DRC. I refuse that Rwanda carries this burden and is insulted and insulted every day about this,” the Rwandan president told parliament.
during the swearing in of Senator François-Xavier Kalinda, replacing the President of the Senate.

“There is a type of refugees that I think we will no longer accept. We cannot continue to accept refugees, for whom, later, we are held responsible in some way, or even insulted “, he added.

“All those who think that it is the problem of Rwanda and not that of the Congo, first of all, withdraw the Congolese who are here. Those who arrive every day, because of the actions of their government and the institutions, who say that the government is not functioning properly, it is still not my problem”, he indicated addressing the international community.

The Congolese authorities deplored, last December, a “massive displacement” of the population, the majority of Congolese Tutsis towards Rwanda.

“It was concluded that it is the manipulation of the Tutsi Community by Rwanda” to “give justification to the presence of the Rwandan army” on Congolese soil, according to a press release from the Security Council of the Congolese province of North – Kivu.

Rwanda hosts more than 73,297 refugees who are nationals of the DRC, which in turn hosts Rwandan refugees, numbering 210,067, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), i.e. three times the number of Congolese refugees in the country. Rwanda.

Friendly and deepened after Félix Tshisekedi came to power in 2019, relations between Kinshasa and Kigali deteriorated severely after the resurgence in December 2021 of the M23 rebellion (March 23 movement).

Accusing Kigali of supporting this rebellion made up essentially of Congolese Tutsis (like Kagame), Kinshasa had suspended the flights to the DRC of the Rwandan company (rwandair) and, later, had expelled its ambassador stationed in Kinshasa.

Kigali denies these accusations, but they crystallized with the report of United Nations experts published in December and which accuses Rwanda of having deployed its army alongside the M23 in the Congolese province of North Kivu bordering Rwanda.


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