Nyakabande Holding Center Will Not Reopen-Minister

The government has maintained that the Nyakabande refugee holding center in Kisoro district will not reopen. 

Congolese refugees who were accommodated at the center after fleeing fighting between the March 23 Movement (M23) rebels and Congolese troops in Rutshuru territory, North Kivu province were last month told to either accept relocation to Nakivale Settlement center or return to their country.    

The district authorities also destroyed temporarily structures that had been erected at the holding center.

However last week, thousands of refugees fled into the country forcing the authorities in Kisoro district to re-open the holding center to temporarily accommodate refugees.

But Esther Anyakun, Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees said on Tuesday that re-opening Nyakabande holding center is impossible.

According to Anyakun, providing care to refugees while at Nyakabande holding center is very expensive, yet some of the refugees escaped from Nakivale settlement area in Isingiro District. 

Anyakuna said that the refugees either accept relocation or remain in DRC.

Anyakun also says that there are no funds to cater to refugees at Nyakabande.

Frank Walusimbi, the Communications Officer of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees-UNHCR, says that the agency currently has financial challenges to provide assistance to refugees at both Nyakabande holding and transit centers.

According to Walusimbi, UNHCR has been spending close to USD 500,000 per month on the refugees at Nyakabande. He also says that their request of USD 68 million from humanitarian agencies to help in providing assistance to refugees is yet to bear positive results.

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