Rwanda restores calm after camp curfew unrest

APA - Kigali (Rwanda)

Security has been stepped up at Rwanda's Emergency Transit Centre for African migrants from Libya following an unrest there as residents violated a curfew imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The migrants are currently established at the Emergency Transit Center located at Gashora a village about 50km from Kigali in the country's southeast.

UNHCR says the disturbances began on 14 April when three Eritrean refugees were given permission to leave the camp for shopping before they overstayed and were then held at the holding room near the gate.

Rwandan police explained that along with their displeasure regarding the enforcement of lockdown measures that stopped them from leaving the camp as they wanted, the residents conspired to invent a story of physical and attempted sexual assault.

Meanwhile, the UN refugees agency issued a statement on Saturday for tranquility and respect for Rwandan laws after the refugees reportedly protested against security agents alleged high-handedness to restrict movements in and out of the camp amidst a lockdown.

 “We call for calm and urge all refugees to be disciplined, respect Rwandan laws and regulations and to wait for the outcome of this investigation, which will help establish full clarity on the facts and responsibilities” the statement said.

The refugee agency said its protection teams are present at the center and appropriate measures have been taken to provide the alleged victims with all the necessary support, including legal and psychosocial assistance.

Police on the other hand dismissed allegations of sexual assault on one of minor refugees leveled against the commander of the police station at the centre.

The police in turn accused the refugees of concocting the allegation in a bid to tarnish the image of its personnel after they reprimanded a group of camp residents who had violated the curfew.

Rwanda is home to 258 evacuees from Libya. 

Among them 143 are children, 85 men and 40 women. 

Eritreans among them number 203, Somalis 32, Sudanese 15, Ethiopians 7 and South Sudanese 1.


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