Data from Rwanda’s Ministry of Emergency Management (MINEMA) reveals that, as of January 2024, a total of 13,797 Congolese refugees have sought safety in Rwanda. Distribution among various camps includes 5,526 at Nkamira transit camp, 6,074 at Mahama camp, 1,123 at Kiziba camp, 66 at Kigeme, 43 at Mugombwa, and 786 at Nyabiheke.
These new arrivals joined over 80,000 Congolese who have sought refuge in Rwanda for more than two decades. Many of these individuals fled persecution in their home country, particularly over being Kinyarwanda speakers, with a focus on the Tutsi population. The United Nations has repeatedly warned the Congolese government about potential genocide against this segment of the population.
In May 2023, Rwanda and Congo engaged in discussions in Geneva, Switzerland, regarding the repatriation of long-term refugees. Despite ongoing negotiations and denial by the Congolese government, measures promised to facilitate repatriation have not been fully implemented.
The persistent attacks on Tutsis in the eastern part of the DRC contribute to the M23 rebel group’s determination to continue fighting until Rwandophones are treated equally by the Congolese government.