The refugees who have been staying in various forested regions of Southern Kivu including Walikale, Karehe and Masisi in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) arrived in Rwanda after 21 years.
They were received by the officials from the Rwandan government and immediately were relocated to Nyagatare provisional camp, in Eastern Rwanda where they received basic home materials including casseroles, blankets, foods and medical insurance.
The 104 include 66 children born in forests, 30 women and 8 men. They will be integrated into their families after one day.
Speaking to reporters, Seraphine Mukantabana, Rwanda Minister for Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), said that they were free to return home and wondered why it took them so long since the country was secure and stable.
“There is no better place like home. They were being misled by some people but they decide to come back home since they have been suffering forests. We shall ensure that they receive the necessary care to enable them feel free at home,” she noted.
Mukantabana called the refugees to inform others left behind to return voluntarily and enjoy stay in their motherland.
Countries hosting Rwandan refugees who fled the country before December 31, 1998 have committed to implementing an earlier agreed upon strategy that will see no Rwandan living abroad as a refugee by December 31, 2017.
This was agreed as ministerial delegations from the main countries that host Rwandan refugees and Rwanda that met last year.
The main countries hosting Rwandan refugees include Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, the DR Congo, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia, the Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe.
The Cessation Clause on Rwandan refugees, adopted in 2013, was invoked after it was concluded that there is no reason for any Rwandan to remain in refuge and, the government has invested a lot of resources to promote voluntary repatriation.
From 1994 to date, more than 3 million Rwandans have been repatriated.
UNHCR latest Global trend report says that at the end of 2014 Rwandan refugees remaining in exile were 79, 411. Enditem