By Abdulkarim Ssengendo
OVER 2,800 Rwandan refugees have been repatriated, following a tripartite meeting that set July 31 as the deadline for them to return home, a government official has said.
Douglas Asiimwe, a senior protection officer in the Office of the Prime Minister, said the repatriated refugees were drawn from Nakivale, Kyaka, Kyangwari and Orukinga resettlement camps.
Nakivale, hosts 13,600 Rwandan refugees while2,500 are in Kyaka, 188 in Kyangwari and 2,200 in Orukinga.
Asiimwe said there was no reason to continue keeping the Rwandan refugees since their country was peaceful.
The repatriation process, according to Asiimwe, started in 2003 but it had not been taken seriously.
He warned that those who defy the directive would have to cater for their own transport. The repatriation, Asiimwe explained, is done on Tuesdays and Thursdays and on each occasion, about 350 refugees leave the country.
Asiimwe said Rwandan mayors Vianney Murego, Robert Kashemeza and Protais Murayire went to the camps to urge the refugees to return.
Innocent Ngango, the executive secretary for Rwandaâ€™s National Council for Refugees, thanked the Government for the humanitarian support to the refugees.
Emmanuel Wehangane, a refugee, expressed fears that the repatriation exercise does not consider individual problems that made them flee. He said some of them fled Rwanda because of the harassment by some leaders.
However, Ngango dismissed the allegation, saying intimidation had ended and the country was concentrating on development.