Rwandese nationals fleeing to Congo amid stringent Covid-19 measures in the country

Rwandans are fleeing to Congo amid stringent Covid-19 measures in the country [Image: courtesy]
Rwanda—Recently, hundreds of Rwandese nationals have crossed the border to DR. Congo, claiming they are fleeing the country because of stringent Covid-19 vaccination measures.

Sources have revealed that small groups of Rwandans traveling by canoe, have landed on the southern edge of Idjwi island in Lake Kivu which straddles the border, Karongo Kalaja.

“We have already recorded at least 100” arrivals, Kalaja said. One administrator in the areas spoke to interviewers.

According to him, Rwandan authorities are interviewing them to find out why they crossed.

Head of an association of Idjwi citizens living in Bukavu, Idee Bakalu,

the main town in DR Congo’s South Kivu province, said local officials in Ntambuka had recorded 101 arrivals as of Tuesday.

“The Rwandans are saying they are fleeing because of the coronavirus vaccine… we do not know what their intentions are,” he said.

“The Rwandans are going through identification procedures in the villages of Lemera and Nyereji, where most have been placed with host families, for the time being, he reasoned.

“Their presence here is a source of concern for us, given that the reason why they came to Idjwi isn’t clear,” Muhigirwa added.

A country of 13 million people, Rwanda has enforced some of the strictest anti-Covid containment measures in Africa and implemented a rigorous regime of testing and contact tracing.

Health reports show that as of mid-December, it had fully vaccinated 4.2 million people — around 60 percent of Rwandans aged 18 and above.

As opposed to other countries in the region, it has also started administering vaccine booster shots to eligible adults.


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