The handover of these Rwandans took place on Friday 6th August 2021 in Remera cell, Ruheru sector of Nyaruguru district, Southern Province.
The Governor of Southern Province, Alice Kayitesi led Rwanda’s delegation to receive deportees while Burundi was represented by the Governor of Kayanza Province bordering with Rwanda in the south, Remy Cishahayo.
Kayitesi Alice has told IGIHE that repatriated Rwandans had illegally crossed to the neighboring country.
It is said that these Rwandans had crossed to the neighboring country unknowingly over failure to identify landmarks separating both countries.
Governor Cishahayo has revealed that these Rwandans are returned because they didn’t have bad intentions when they crossed to Burundi.
“We are here to handover seven Rwandans arrested in Burundi on 3rd August 2021. We decided to return them home after confirming that they had no intentions to threaten Burundi’s security,” he noted.
Among others, a resident identified as Verediana Mukamisha received her cow stolen on Burundi’s land on 2nd August. It was recovered by officials before returning it to the owner.
The repatriation follows Rwanda’s recent handover of 19 militants of RED Tabara rebel group opposed to the government of Burundi arrested in Nyungwe National Park in September last year.
It is part of gestures giving optimism for revitalized relations between Rwanda and Burundi since Evariste Ndayishimiye took over as Burundi President last year.
Recently, Prime Minister Dr. Edouard Ngirente represented Rwanda as Burundi celebrated 59th Independence Day on 1st July 2021.
At the time, President Ndayishimiye Ndayishimiye revealed that the representation of Rwanda during the ceremony ‘induces pride to Burundians’ and considered it the beginning of a new page for both countries relations.
“We are aware that Rwanda and Burundi have been writing a book for the past years. We are now bound to read it to write a new chapter. This gives hope to read the previous book together and close it to write another chapter which alludes to normalized friendship. There is optimism that we are leaving the past turbulence behind to start a new era of relations,” he revealed.
In 2015, a group of Burundian soldiers attempted to overthrow the then President Pierre Nkurunziza but the plan was nullified.
Since then, Burundi has been accusing Rwanda of accommodating suspects behind the failed coup plot. Rwanda has however been insisting that the individuals are considered as refugees who must be protected against deportation by international laws.
The political mishap later halted cooperation and free movements between both countries.
Despite misunderstandings that have characterized Rwanda and Burundi, both countries are promising to bring the situation back to normal for mutual benefits.