UN refugee agency helps more than 1000 Rwandans return from Uganda

In the most recent convoy, some 228 refugees left a camp in Uganda’s southwest this morning and travelled by truck to the Rwandan border. About half of the group, the first of three convoys scheduled for this week, were children. UNHCR said the refugees were visibly happy to have returned to their homeland, and some of the children were physically stepping foot inside Rwanda for the first time in their lives.The Rwandan Government has set up a transit camp at Byumba, about 25 kilometres from the border with Uganda, to process the returnees promptly. Families arriving at the camp can receive a package that includes a kitchen set, plastic sheeting, blankets, jerry cans and soap.In mid-2003 UNHCR estimated there were about 60,000 Rwandan refugees remaining in the region, most having fled their homeland in the wake of the country’s 1994 genocide. It expects to help about two-thirds of that group return this year. About 18,000 people were thought to live inside Uganda and so far 3,000 have registered to return home with the assistance of the UNHCR.

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