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RNP extends community policing awareness to ex combatants in Mutobo

Rwanda National Police (RNP), on May 26, extended the proactive community policing concept to former combatants currently undergoing civic training at the Mutobo Demobilization and Reintegration camp in the Northern Province.

There are 68 former combatants at Mutobo camp including four females, who constitute the 57th batch that have so far benefited from the civic programme at the centre.

The centre run by Rwanda Demobilisation and Reintegration Commission (RDRC) brings them up to speed on the current socioeconomic progress in Rwanda and gives them new hope as they are reintegrated into the community and facilitated to a new life.

Speaking to the former combatants, who voluntarily surrendered and distanced themselves from the terror activities of FDLR in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Chief Supt. Murenzi Sebakondo noted that as reformed Rwandans, they will be required to actively partner with other Rwandans to strive for the safety, security, peace and development of their respective communities and the country in general.

Chief Supt. Sebakondo, who is the deputy Commissioner for Community Policing in RNP, took them through the history of RNP, its mandate and the role of the general public in ensuring safety and security under community policing.

“For the country to have sustainable security, it is imperative to forge a strong partnership between security organs and the citizens, and that’s how the ideal of community policing was born to empower Rwandans to own their security,” CSP Sebakondo told the ex combatants.

He observed that previous security institutions were perceived to be hostile towards the people they were mandate to protect and serve, and abused and denied them of their rights.

“This is your country as well and like any other Rwandan, you will be expected to partner with other people in your respective communities, once you are reintegrated, to ensure that safety and security Rwandans enjoy today, is preserved through vigilance and timely exchange of information,” said CSP Sebakondo.

Despite the existing level of security, he noted, there are still crimes like abuse of drugs, domestic and gender based violence, corruption and to some extent, genocide ideology, which continue to fuel insecurity in communities.

He further outlined terrorism, cyber-related crimes and human trafficking as other emerging crimes that are cross-border in nature.

“Despite these security challenges, community policing remains one of the inevitable factor in detecting, fighting and preventing these crimes through sharing of information, and this is partly why Rwanda is one of the secure and safest countries in Africa andworld over,” he said.

Irondo – community night patrols – neighborhood watch, community policing committees, he said, are some of the community policing initiatives that have brought change, and urged them to partner with the people to ensure that the “rhythm is maintained.”

He also urged them to be guided by Rwandan values of patriotism, be part of developmental activities like Umuganda – communal work – subscribe to public health insurance scheme – Mutuelles de Sante, among others.

Jean Claude Ntagisanimana, one of the ex combatants attending civic education at Mutobo, was full of praises for how he was received, treated and valued as a Rwandan who would as well “contribute in ensuring security of my country that I had abandoned and terrorized.”

A former major in FDLR, who was serving in the reserve brigade, Ntagisanimana returned home a fortnight ago.

“To me, for Police to come here and lecture us on what they do and what is required of us… I value it so much partly as a sign of unity, partnership and forgiveness,” said Ntagisanimana.

To Jeannette Tuyisenge, she found a different picture in Rwanda, when she returned, contrary to what they were being told by their commanders.

“They used to tell us that when we come back we will be killed. I had a relative who wasn’t with us in the jungle, who used to come to Rwanda and would tell me that Rwanda is peaceful. I sold the idea to my husband, whom we were together in FDLR, to escape and he welcomed it ,” said Tuyisenge.

“We escaped to Monusco camp in Tongo, who facilitated our return. I am very happy to partner with other Rwandans to rebuild my country,” she added.


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