Rwandans expelled from Tanzania urgently need food and medical care
Humanitarian agencies in Uganda and Rwanda have called for relief aid for thousands of Rwandan nationals who were expelled in August by the government of Tanzania. President Kikwete ordered their expulsion saying they were illegal immigrants and criminals. Many are now living in camps in Uganda and Rwanda and a few with friends and relatives. Most of those interviewed said they were born and grew up in Tanzania and had never set foot in Rwanda before. They said they never applied for citizenship because Tanzania’s constitution recognizes that whoever is born on Tanzanian territory is a citizen by birth. Tanzanian police officers who implemented the expulsion said many had national identity cards and not citizenship certificates. The expulsion took place after a diplomatic row between President Kikwete and Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Kikwete suggested at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa in May this year that Rwanda should think of holding peace talks with the militias who carried out the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The militias have been using Congolese territory to attack Rwanda. Since May the two presidents have been exchanging bitter words and threats in the media. Diplomats in the Great Lakes region said at the weekend that Tanzania fears that Rwanda might try destabilize it, in retaliation for its decision to send troops to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a new UN force seeking to disarm and neutralize the M23 rebels. The United Nations accuses Rwanda of supporting the rebels.