Since the beginning of September, medical professional have seriously reduced their visits to the transit camp in Kisangani, where Rwandan refugees are still waiting for the international community to come to their aid. According to reports from the camp, the only doctor who is supposed to look after the health of 800 refugees comes less than three times a week for such a brief period of time, that most of the patients have not been seen or examined for the last three months. Although, there is a stock full of medical supplies inside the camp, the refugees don’t have access to those supplies, and there is a willful effort to use sickness as a means to force the refugees to return to Rwanda. The Camp Director, Mme Sifa Furaha Zawadi has been heard telling refugees that anyone who wants to be treated should return to Rwanda because that is where their Dr, nurses and medical supplies are waiting for them.
In the last several days, Mme Zawadi has also reversed back to her usual habit of withholding food from the Refugees and taunting them with the same mantra that everything they need is in Rwanda and that Congo is not their country. To make matters worse, some medical staff have been observed loading food supplies into an ambulance in what appears to be a blatant plunder of food items that were destined for the refugees. This seems to be in line with what Agence France Press reported on last summer, about the fact that food and medical supplies that are destined for refugees have been diverted by some local staff members to be sold on the black market inside Kisangani city.
The refugees we talked to are extremely frustrated by the fact that since those of the group that are former freedom fighters agreed to lay down their weapons, none of the promises made to them by the International community has been honored, and reiterate the fact that they laid down their weapons in exchange for political negotiations with the Government of Rwanda. Ever since we started reporting on the situation in Kisangani, there has been serious incidents that include rapes and two deaths which have not been investigated by the International Community, mainly the UN and SADC. It is imperative that those who claim to care for human rights and to uphold international law intervene in this situation before anymore lives are lost to this seemingly carefully planned attempt on the lives of these refugees.
Louise MUKASINE Duterimbere-Media