Normal life returns to Kinigi days after rebel attack left 14 people dead

Monday October 21 2019

tours

Tourists entering the Volcanoes National Park.Tourism has been Rwanda’s revenue cash cow for over a decade.PHOTO | FILE 

MARIE ANNE DUSHIMIMANA
By MARIE ANNE DUSHIMIMANA
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The vibrancy that defines the town centre in Kinigi Sector in Musanze District has returned, two weeks after rebels attacked and killed 14 people and injured another 14.

When Rwanda Today toured the area this past week, it found shops open with buyers and sellers trading freely. However, they remain cautious about strangers in the area.

As it was raining heavily, I asked a motorist to take me to the exact spot where the rebel attack took place. He initially hesitated and wanted to know who I was. I said I was a reporter and showed him my press card. Convinced, he agreed to take me to Bisate, in Kaguhu Cell, some 14km from Kinigi Centre, where the rebels first landed carrying guns and traditional weapons.

They are believed to have emerged from the volcano forest.

Bisate is a business centre that sits on the foot of Bisoke volcano, which is a popular tourist destination site famed for mountain climbing.

On our way, my rider advised me to first look for local authorities before conducting any interviews because ever since the October 4 attack, “people from Bisate don’t talk to strangers.” He dropped me off at the cell headquarters saying: “You see, now we are sure that you are not among the rebels.

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We are suspicious of anyone we don’t know in our village. We have to be vigilant with our security.” Peter Mabano who runs a shop at Bisate centre said traders are now returning to their normal work schedule.

“At first, we were disturbed and closed our businesses by 6pm. However, government officials and security organs assured us of our security.

Our normal working culture has returned; we now close shop at 8pm,” he said.

Five alleged attackers have been arrested and 19 others were killed, while an unknown number is said to have escaped, and their whereabouts are still unknown.

The rebels who were paraded told journalists that they belong to the armed Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, which is active in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

FDLR has been a thorn in Rwanda’s security detail for more than 25 years.

Brig-Gen Vincent Gatama, the Second Division Commander of the Rwanda Defence Force told the media last week that security in the area is back to normal and assured business owners that their property is safe from similar attacks.

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