Eighteen Rwandan refugees who lived in Kisenge, Lualaba are expected to arrive this Sunday in Lubumbashi city to be repatriated to Rwanda.
According to local sources, these refugees had expressed the wish to return to Rwanda [their home country] after spending several years in Lualaba.
Starting with 39 refugees only 18 Rwandan refugees will eventually return with the assistance of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which works with the provincial government of Lualaba.
The 21 others have preferred to stay for a time for various reasons; some do not want to disturb studies of their children and others, who have plantation fields, say will wait for the harvest period before leaving.
Rwandan refugees had up to December 31,2017 to either secure legal residency in host countries, return home or risk losing protection after the cessation date.
Invocation of the cessation clause means that the UNHCR will no longer be responsible for supporting Rwandan refugees.
Th e country received over 11,000 returnees in the first eight months of 2017 compared with 5,580 in 2016.
Repatriations from the Democratic Republic of Congo had increased from an average of 120 refugees per week in 2016 to more than 2,000 refugees per week over in October last year.
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR) introduced a new transit centre capable of accommodating 680 returnees in southern Nyanza District after the centres at Kijote and Nyarushishi got jammed by an influx of returning citizens.
Kijote, which is the initial destination for refugees coming back through Bukavu has a capacity of processing 250 people while Nyarushishi, on the North Kivu side, can handle 640 people.
During a meeting in Geneva between Rwanda and UNHCR, delegations from countries that host Rwandan refugees agreed to keep the December 31 deadline.