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After 10 years preventing within the bush

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“I married my spouse whereas I used to be preventing within the bush. As soon as we had a child, I assumed that we might not be protected, working from one place to a different with a household, so I made a decision to return to my house nation, Rwanda.”

26-year-old Jean-Nepo Mukeshimana is talking on the Munigi Transit Camp, close to northern Goma, the place he’s making ready to depart for Rwanda, after some 10 years preventing within the ranks of Raiya Mutomboki, an armed group based mostly in Kibabi, a village within the DRC province of North Kivu.

Born to Rwandan mother and father who fled the 1994 genocide, Mr. Mukeshimana was born in DRC. When he was 16, his mother and father returned to Rwanda as a result of the struggle was over, however Mr. Mukeshimana stayed, and was later recruited by Raiya Mutomboki. 

“For 10 years I fought within the bush, life was exhausting, and we couldn’t do something to earn earnings. It was sprinting from one place to a different each single day”, he says. 

His spouse, 20-year-old Mapenzi Uwineza, who says that Mr. Mukeshimana merely ordered her to observe him into the bush after their marriage, agrees that life was robust. “After we wanted meals, the combatants needed to go looting, what sort of life is that? We didn’t have sanitary towels, so I needed to improvise with previous items of fabric. And whereas our husbands have been away, we might be overwhelmed by the rebels.” 

Jean-Nepo Mukeshimana and his wife

United Nations/ Eskinder Debebe

Jean-Nepo Mukeshimana and his spouse

Preparations for civilian life

Together with 4 different male ex-combatants, and their dependents – two ladies and 5 kids – Mr. Mukeshimana spent two weeks within the camp, as a part of MONUSCO’s Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration (DDR) programme in DRC, which has been working since 2013.

The intention of the initiative is to assist in the repatriation of all overseas combatants and their dependents within the nation, gather and remove weapons and ammunition, and make sure that the ex-combatants perceive the significance of peace.

The Rwandans within the camp are anticipated to inform others who’re nonetheless preventing within the bush that it’s protected to give up and return house. 
John Bashali works for the MONUSCO DDR programme. He says {that a} lack of identification papers, required by authorities of their nation of origin, deters many combatants from considering of returning house.

To make the method simpler for them, MONUSCO helps ex-fighters with the paperwork. “There’s a telephone quantity that they’ll attain us on, with the price of the decision paid by MONUSCO”, he says. “After figuring out them, they’re transferred to Munigi Transit Camp prepared for repatriation”.

Mukeshimana Jean-Nepo, an ex-combatant leaves the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC for Rwanda with dreams of becoming an international football player.

United Nations/ Eskinder Debebe

Mukeshimana Jean-Nepo, an ex-combatant leaves the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC for Rwanda with goals of turning into a global soccer participant.

Studying to stay peacefully

Established in 2014, the camp supplies primary requirements like clothes, meals, sanitary kits for ladies, and shelter. Ex-combatants have entry to information, and might participate in sporting actions.

The centre additionally supplies them with life abilities and a stipend to assist them after reaching house. As soon as they get to Rwanda, the boys spend two to 3 months on the Mutobo Demobilization Camp, the place they study vocational abilities, in order that they’ll make ends meet as soon as they return to their villages.

Nizeyemukiza Anasthase (left) is a former combatant with Nyatura armed group in DRC. His  wife was killed by rebels in the bush. He is returning home to his parents and children.

United Nations/ Eskinder Debebe

Nizeyemukiza Anasthase (left) is a former combatant with Nyatura armed group in DRC. His spouse was killed by rebels within the bush. He’s returning house to his mother and father and kids.

A brand new chapter

As they assist one another to pack their belongings, Mr. Mukeshimana and his fellow ex-fighters are clearly excited to be leaving for Rwanda.

“I’ve by no means had such a clear outfit as a result of within the bush, I had lice throughout my physique”, says a jovial Mr. Mukeshimana, who’s carrying a brand new set of garments offered by the mission.

Previous to departing, a meal of rice and beans is served. Then, the expectant group boards a UN minibus, and their journey from Munigi to the border between DRC and Rwanda begins.

After a half-hour drive, it’s time to say goodbye to DRC, and begin a brand new, extra hopeful chapter of their lives.

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