Ex-combatants upbeat over warn reception in Rwanda

By Esther Muhozi
On 30 April 2024 at 03:25

Former members of armed groups from the forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have expressed their gratitude for the warm reception they received in Rwanda, despite their previous activities that threatened the country’s security.

On April 29, 2024, the Mutobo Demobilization and Reintegration Center hosted an event marking the demobilization of 55 former combatants, who were part of the 71st cohort. These individuals hailed from various armed groups in the DRC.

Col Alphonse Uwimana, a former combatant with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), commended Rwanda’s inclusive approach. "The government welcomed us unconditionally, providing training and instilling in us the core values of a productive Rwandan citizen," he said.

Uwimana emphasized their commitment to eradicating divisive and genocidal ideologies. He appealed to those still in the DRC forests, or contemplating attacks against Rwanda, to disarm and return home, assuring them of a warm reception.

Valérie Nyirahabineza, Chairperson of the National Commission for Demobilization and Reintegration (RDRC), highlighted the success of the Mutobo center, which has trained over 14,000 individuals since its inception, from groups including the FDLR, P5, and RUD Urunana.

The recent demobilization included 46 soldiers and civilians involved with armed groups, along with two children previously engaged as soldiers, all of whom have been prepared to adopt new perspectives.

"They are poised to make significant contributions to the development of a better Rwanda," Nyirahabineza stated. She added that the training provided at Mutobo covered various trades, resulting in qualifications certified by the Rwanda Technical & Vocational Education & Training Board (RTB).

Upon completing their training, the individuals received identity cards, reintegration certificates, and professional certificates, equipping them for their new lives.

Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Minister of Local Government, reaffirmed Rwanda’s commitment to reintegrating all its citizens. "No Rwandan should remain in exile. We are dedicated to ensuring that everyone works together to build our nation," he declared.

Musabyimana urged the returnees to uphold Rwandan cultural values, work towards poverty eradication, and participate actively in the upcoming Presidential and Parliamentary elections.

Every year, the RDRC welcomes those who have decided to leave behind the conflicts in the DRC, facilitating their integration into Rwandan society.

Repatriates showcased their talents and entertained the attendees of the event.
Colonel Uwimana appreciated Rwanda for welcoming them regardless of their past involvement in destabilizing its security.
Col Uwimana receiving his certificate of completion.
Jean Claude Musabyimana, the Minister of Local Government, expressed Rwanda's desire that no child of Rwanda should be left in exile.
Valérie Nyirahabineza, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Demobilization and Reintegration.
The demobilized mother (left) receiving certificate from Nyirahabineza, held the rank of corporal in FDLR.