Rwanda President Dismisses Refugee Recruitment Claims


Rwanda President Paul Kagame has dismissed claims made by Refugee International (RI) that Burundi refugees are being recruited as rebel fighters at asylum camps in his country.

Earlier this month Refugee International released a report that claimed Burundi refugees were being forced to join rebel forces to fight against their government upon return to their country. Speaking at a news conference in the Rwanda capital, Kigali, the president branded the claims as “childish” and insisted there was no evidence to back them up.


Growing tension between neighbours

The possibility that Burundi rebel fighters could be recruited on Rwandan soil highlights the deteriorating relationship between the two African neighbours. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has already accused Rwanda of supporting rebel fighters in his country and plotting to overthrow the government.

The RI report goes as far to suggest Rwanda security officials are implicated in the recruitment process taking place at refugee camps. If this claim were to be proven then all ties between Nkurunziza’s Burundi and Kagame’s Rwanda would come under question.

Burundi’s security minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni also spoke at a press conference in his own country on Tuesday. He accused Rwanda of “destabilising our country through recruitments, trainings and equipping elements of the coup-plotters with weapons”.


Kagame remains defiant

Rwanda President Paul Kagame has always dismissed accusations that his country is interfering in the affairs of Burundi. Earlier this week he confirmed his country would not send any troops to join African Union (AU) peacekeepers, should they choose to intervene in Burundi.

Regarding the claims that Burundi refugees are being recruited in camps inside his country, the president once again dismissed all accusations.

“They talk about Rwanda giving them guns to go and fight in Burundi,” he said. “I haven’t seen any evidence, not the tiniest evidence to prove that.”


Featured image:

Paul Kagame, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa” by Copyright World Economic Forum / Matthew Jordaan – Africa as the World’s potential Breadbasket – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.