The Rwanda National Police has announced that 5 Congolese refugees have died in the operations to thwart illegal demonstrations in the area that they had seized near the branch of the office of the UNHCR in Karongi district. 15 others were arrested.
On 20 February, about 500 refugees marched out of Kiziba Camp (Karongi district) in protest over reduced food rations.
MIDIMAR Rwanda, UNHCR and local leaders, among others, urged them to return to their camp as their grievance is being looked into.
However, these calls were met with strong resistance that turned violent. Refugees armed with sharp objects (stones, sticks and metal pieces) began to assault police officers, who then used tear gas to disperse the unacceptable riots and secure the nearby community.
When the attacks persisted, police used proportional force that left 20 rioters and 7 Police officers injured. They were rushed to hospital, 5 rioters unfortunately succumbed to their wounds and 15 arrested for illegal demonstration, taking hostage and inciting violence
These refugees say that the aid they were given reduced considerably to such extent that so far the food ration one refugee is now Rwf6700 per month.
That is why they say instead of starving, they choose to repatriate despite their concern for insecurity back home.
In the beginning of 2018, the World Food Program (WPF) and UNHCR appealed to donors to take action so that the stipends given to refugees in Rwanda after a reduction of 25%.
Until December 2017, WFP provided 16.95 kilos of ration for each refugee per month made of maize, beans, cooking oil and salt.
Others were given Rwf7,600 (US$9) to buy foodstuffs on the markets of the refugee camps.