Rwandans living near the border with Burundi are willing to act as good Samaritans unlike Burundi nationals that regularly cross the border to steal from homes in Rwanda.
On November 21, twelve cows from Burundi grazed into Rwanda territory prompting angry residents of Biharangu village, Kamabuye in Bugesera district to confiscate the cows as a way of compensating themselves.
Kamabuye sector leaders told residents their decision to impound the cows was not appropriate and convinced them to return the cows. The residents today voluntarily returned the cows to their owners across the border in Burundi.
Burundi and Rwandan local leaders witnessed the return of the cows to their Burundian owners today at Rweru boarder.
However, Rwandans are concerned that Burundi nationals crossover and steal cows from Rwandan farms in daylight and there is no room to claim them back. More than 50 cattle have been stolen in the past six months.
While speaking to Kigali Today, the residents said, in the past six months cattle thieves alleged to be members of Imbonerakure militia from Burundi have been crossing the border and assaulting cattle keepers.
“When traders in Burundi order for cattle, thieves then crossover into Rwanda through the Ku Munzenze small border, pick them either in daylight or even at night,” said one resident who lost three cows to thieves.
“The men have dug caves at the border and they threaten to kill us if we dare cross to Burundi,” the resident added.
The border community said Burundians can cross to Rwanda without any worry, but it’s risky for Rwandans to cross to Burundi.
In August, two armed thugs crossed from Burundi and shot a Rwandan who was protecting his cassava harvest in Buhanga village, Bugarama sector of Rusizi district.
With a shattered knee, Jean Kwizera 20, the victim was hurried to Bushenge hospital for treatment.
Prior to this event, senior officials in Burundi vowed the government would punish anyone who will export their already scarce food commodities to Rwanda.
The Rwandans at the border with Burundi told Kigali Today, “Burundian officials are rather promoting crimes by refusing their citizens to trade with Rwanda, at times they rely a lot on Rwandan border markets for food commodities.”