Some of the refugees walked for days before reaching the Goma-Gisenyi border crossing between Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. They came with their belongings, including mattresses, clothing, perhaps a few toys for the children. The images are from the border and from the Nkamira Transit Centre, located 22 kilometres inside Rwanda.
On Saturday, government forces carried out air strikes against Runyonyi, a town near the Rwandan border which is held by the mutineers, the army said. A representative of a local civil society group told AFP Sunday that "there has been heavy weapon firing this morning in Runyonyi. People are fleeing the hills around Runyonyi and heading for Jomba and Tchengerero." A spokesman for one breakaway group, the March 23 movement (M23), said civilians were also fleeing the Bunagana region, some crossing into Uganda. "Massive population displacement is taking place because of fear of fighting," Lieutenant Colonel Vianney Kazarana said.
Based on decision made by the Government of Rwanda on Saturday 12 May, incoming Congolese refugees are to be transferred to a new site in Nyamagabe District in the South of Rwanda. This decision was welcomed by UNCHR and other partners who have been collaborating with the Government of Rwanda in the search of feasible and sustainable solutions to the challenge of accommodation in Nkamira Transit Center in Rubavu District, currently receiving all incoming refugees.
Congolese inhabitants of the town of Kibumba walk towards Goma, the capital of North Kivu province, on May 8, 2012. Several thousand people have fled Kibumba and the environs, following clashes that began around midnight last night between the Congolese army and elements of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP) rebel group.
The friendly confrontation between Tunisia and Rwanda comes up the same day with matchday 17 delayed encounters of the national football championship. This clash puts the coach of the Tunisia national football team, Sami Trabelsi in a critical situation as players of Esperance Sportive Tunis, Etoile Sportive Sahel and Club Africain will be involved in their clubs’ duties. Trabelsi, who has been using players from those clubs in the national team, saw his request for the adjournment of various national tournament delayed matches rejected by the country’s football federation. Billed for May 27, the friendly encounter is the ultimate for Tunisia ahead of their 2014 world cup qualifier coming June.
Some might say it’s just potty talk, but according to Joseph Theodomily Katabarwa, a community health and development expert and head of environmental health department for the Ministry of Health, 45 per cent of Kigali residents don’t know how to keep their toilets clean
Nyiriaba Herekeza, 65, from the Democratic Republic of Congo awaits registration as a refugee at Gisenyi on the Rwanda border with Congo, May 9, 2012. Herekeza hopes to get to a hospital soon, as ten days ago she was shot in the head as she fled fighting between Congolese government troops and rebels near her home in Gicanga, North Kivu. Clashes erupted after Congolese President Joseph Kabila announced last month he would try to arrest the renegade General Bosco Ntaganda, wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crime in northeastern Congo's ethnic conflict.
Nyiraba Herekeza hopes to get to a hospital soon. Ten days ago she was shot in the head as she fled fighting between Congolese government troops and rebels near her home in Gicanga, North Kivu. The bullet is still lodged inside her right eye socket. "I came from my house and ran to the forest. I was running away, fleeing the war, then the bullet came and hit me," an exhausted-looking Herekeza, 65, told Reuters as she sat with her two grandchildren minutes after crossing the border with Rwanda. "I don't know which soldiers (shot me)."
Pedalling to bring power to his village in Rwanda. Francois Nsegimana is working for lightmaker, Nuru Energy. Customers pay Francois to charge up the batteries for their LED lights on his pedal generator.
A massive arms cache has been uncovered in eastern Democratic Republic Congo on the farm of renegade soldier Bosco Ntaganda, the army has told the BBC. Other heavy weapons were found in two other locations in North Kivu, the scene of recent fighting against army mutineers, Col Innocent Gahizi said. He agreed with analysts that a move by some mutineers to appoint a new leader was a ploy to protect Gen Ntaganda.
When gunfire broke out in her home area in eastern Congo, Annie Kabeja joined a wave of thousands fleeing the area and walked for two days with her two children toward neighboring Rwanda. "We heard gunshots and blasts. We had no option but to flee," the 34-year-old Kabeja said after arriving in Rwanda. "We couldn't sleep. Bullets were flying all over the place."
Almost 7,000 refugees from DR Congo have arrived in Rwanda, escaping the fighting in North Kivu over the border.
Congolese army deserters led by ex-general Bosco Ntaganda were in a gunfight with soldiers in the eastern DR Congo town of Kimbumba overnight, an army captain said Tuesday. "We started fighting around midnight (2200 GMT Monday)," he told AFP. "General Bosco Ntaganda was in the ranks" of the mutineers, who are former members of rebel group the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP).
"After a heavy gun battle lasting four hours in Kibumba, we were backed by heavy weapons fire," said the captain, himself a former member of the CNDP who integrated into the army under a 2009 peace deal with Kinshasa.
Army mutineers in eastern Democratic Republic Congo loyal to warlord Bosco Ntaganda, known as "The Terminator", have replaced him as their leader. A statement said the fighters had formed an armed group called M23 to be headed by Col Sultani Makenga, who also recently defected from the army. Analysts say the move could be a way of protecting Gen Ntaganda, who is wanted by the ICC for alleged war crimes.
Nkamira, Rwanda: A Congolese refugee at the Nkamira transit camo. Photograph by Siegfried Modola/AP
“We were together in the forest when the fighting forced us to flee,” Mukakarimba said in tears, cradling her little boy to protect him from the lashing rain in this transit camp close to the Congolese border. She was separated from her husband and a second child in the chaos sparked by the fighting between soldiers from the Democratic Republic of Congo's army and mutineers - who were until recently rebel soldiers. “I was at home with my family when we heard explosions and people shooting, and everybody ran away,” said Rema Mukankusi, who made it across the border into Rwanda along with two of her grown children. Her husband and four other children scattered in different directions.
Since 2001, the gacaca community courts have been the centrepiece of Rwanda’s justice and reconciliation process. Nearly every adult Rwandan has participated in the trials, but lawyers are banned from any official involvement. Human rights organisations fiercely opposed the use of gacaca for trying genocide cases, on the grounds that it fell short of international legal standards of fairness. Much criticism reflects legal rigidity towards the unprecedented challenges confronting post-genocide Rwanda – and a limited understanding of the aims of the community courts. Gacaca was inevitably imperfect, but also highly ambitious and innovative. While the full impact of the process will not be apparent for many years, gacaca has delivered benefits to Rwandans in the spheres of justice, truth and democratic participation. Other societies confronting the aftermath of mass conflict could learn much from Rwanda’s approach to local justice.
Nkamira Transit Centre is temporary shelter for all those who fled their villages and left everything behind. The centre is located a mere 22kms from the border that separates refugees from their home country. But accommodation at the centre is poor - 100s of refugees cram together in the 30 rub halls scattered on the patches of grass. All together, a maximum of 5,000 individuals can be received at Nkamira, but the steady influx of refugees has already outpaced our capacity to host them. Urgent decongestion is needed.
Noting that the Government of Rwanda has adopted its Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) for the 2008-2012 period to guide Rwanda's medium-term development ambitions, and that Rwanda has been climbing up in the World Bank's Doing Business Index, the Ambassador also pointed to a gap between registered investment and actual investment. In view of the fact that investment is important in terms of jobs, technology and tax revenues, the Government of Rwanda, in line with its Private Sector Development Cluster under the EDPRS, is of the view that an in-depth FDI study is a matter of priority and urgency.
“One individual is not worth the lives of so many Congolese," said Mushikiwabo. "That’s really a very important point. So as much as it’s sexy and there’s a campaign and all of that, let’s think about the ordinary Congolese citizens. They deserve peace and they deserve to be cared for like anybody else.”