Friday, 26 April 2013

More than 120 former combatants complete reintegration course


A section of former combatants during their pass-out ceremony in Mutobo, Musanze district, on Tuesday.
One hundred twenty-six former militants of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia were, on Tuesday, discharged after completing reintegration course at Mutobo Demobilisation centre in Musanze district. 

Speaking at the discharge ceremony, Jean Sayinzoga, the chairperson of the Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission, hailed the group for abandoning rebellion. 

He appealed to those still holed up in the Congo jungles to give up subversive activities and repatriate.

Aisha Nyiraminani, 24, and a mother of three said she feels safe ever since she returned.

“When we were in the forest, we used to be told that whoever comes to Rwanda is tortured until they die, we are now witnesses that Rwanda is a peaceful country and those who say it is not are just mistaken; our former colleagues should return home,” said Nyiraminani.

A new life

“But now as I am going back into community  life, I hope I will be received well and have a chance to build my future in my country. I am very proud of it and I will strive to work for it,” she added.

According to the commissioner for demobilisation, Brig. John Bagabo, those discharged included five officers, three captains and a lieutenant.

Alvera Mukabaramba, the State Minister for Community Development and Social Affairs in the Ministry of Local Government, who was the chief guest, told the group that they were lucky to be back in their country and urged them to work hard to serve the country while developing themselves.

“I hope as you are going in the community you will be witnesses of the progress Rwanda has made while encouraging your colleagues to come back in their home country,” she said.

This is the 46th group to be discharged since the centre started to deal with reintegration.

During the pass-out function, a female former combatant told of the sexual atrocities women go though in the Congo jungles, saying the rebels consider them [the women] as sexual tools.

“They have raped every single woman. Sadly, there is no legal framework among the rebel ranks to guarantee any rights or even remedies,” the former combatant said in her testimony.

“Escape was the only way out, and those who can’t had to endure it all or be killed.”


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