Tanzanians in Rwanda reassured, they are part of East African Community

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While Tanzania is chasing away Rwandans who live in Tanzania, the government of Rwanda reassured Tanzanians living in Rwanda that they should feel welcome and comfortable.

Minister Louise Mushikiwabo made the remarks yesterday while talking to the media on the current position of Rwanda and other issues related to foreign affairs.

Mushikiwabo said that the government will receive and protect Rwandans who are being expelled from Tanzania based on claims that they are illegal immigrants.

Rwanda’s foreign minister noted that it was regrettable that Tanzania did not consult Rwanda before kicking them out.

“There was a decision made, we were not consulted and our obligation as a state and as a government is to offer protection to the people coming to us and that’s what we have been busy doing,” she said.

Rwandan families, including those who have lived in Tanzania since the 1950s, have for the past few days been arriving through Rusumo border after President Kikwete instructed local officials to give only two weeks to the so called “illegal” immigrants to leave the Kagera Region, which shares borders with Rwanda.

Mushikiwabo said,“Any Tanzania citizen living in Rwanda should feel at home, comfortable and welcomed in this country. We are part of East African Community.”

She added, “Tanzania and Rwanda are neighbours and have to be live peacefully.”

Responding to remarks made by Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete who requested Government of Rwanda to discuss with FDLR rebels, most of them involved in the killing of 1,000,000 Tutsis, Mushikiwabo said:” whatever tension exists between Rwanda and Tanzania must be resolved; the relationship is too important…we wish that the relation between Rwanda and Tanzania to be a good one. We share a lot: strong ties, business ties, etc”

Recently President Kikwete acknowledged relations between Tanzania and Rwanda have gone through difficult times.

The suggestion made by Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete in May this year that the Rwandan government negotiate with the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) ignited indignation in Rwanda.

The FDLR is made up of members who are largely responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in which over a million people were slaughtered in 100 days between April and July that year.

The UN has also branded FDLR a terrorist organisation, has been involved in creating instability in eastern Congo. The group has been involved in a series of attacks in Rwanda including a grenade attack last month that killed three people and injured dozens. The group has killed and maimed thousands in the DR Congo whose government helped in creating the group.

In her press briefing, Mushikiwabo said that Rwanda’s policy towards the militia has always been clear and is not about to change. This is a statement she made several times at the news conference, urging whoever suggests that Rwanda should engage FDLR in negotiations to forget about it.

“When you are associated with genocide, you should be an enemy of everybody,” she said, also explaining that “there should be clarity about why Rwandans are unhappy” when it comes to any ideas that recommend talking to the FDLR.

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