Refugees from Gihembe camp lament relocation to Mahama

On 15 September 2021 at 04:03

Refugees from Gihembe camp located in Gicumbi district have expressed worries over planned relocation to Mahama camp in Kirehe district fearing hard life as they get integrated into the new community.

Gihembe camp accommodates 9,922 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Some refugees who spoke to IGIHE lamented about the decision by the Ministry in charge of Emergency Management to relocate them to a new camp which previously accommodated refugees from Burundi.

Alice Mushimiyimana is among young people born in Gihembe camp who revealed that it won’t be easy to mix with the new environemnt.

“We are not happy with the decision. We have been familiar with this area which had become our home. Relocating us to another camp seems like we are seeking refuge afresh. Moving to different camps destabilizes our mindsets because there is no assurance that we won’t be moved to another place in the near future. It affects us in no smaller part. We have been living comfortably as proud residents. The relocation revives memories and living conditions in refuge,” she said.

Mushimiyimana said that it would be better resettling them in places where they will stay until they return to their native land.

Théo Mpatswe, another young refugee said that some of refugees are to leave occupations that helped them to feed their families.

“It difficult to get familiar with a new setting especially when you had strong connections with residents. Besides, the relocation will affect us in many ways because parents who have been running businesses to feed families will be hit hard as they get integrated into new life,” he revealed.

Goretti Murebwayire, Gihembe camp manager allayed fears for refugees noting that the relocation is meant to protect their wellbeing by resettling them in a more decent place.

“They should not be worried about the relocation to Mahama because the camp has been operational. Refugees with businesses will continue to enjoy such opportunity in Mahama camp and receive existing support. I would like to assure them that Mahama is more decent than this camp,” she explained.

Relocation of refugees from Gihembe camp will resume on 20th September 2021 where a total of 500 refugees will be relocated joining more 520 families comprised of 2393 refugees resettled to the place in May 2021.

Gihembe camp accommodates 9,922 refugees from 2227 families expected to have been relocated to Mahama camp by December 2021.

Gihembe camp accommodates 9,922 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo.