‘We’re not staying here, we want to come to Britain’, say migrants in Rwanda camp

“No,” the 28-year-old replies quickly – but firmly – only for his face to light up at talk of where he would truly like to find himself in a few months: the US.

All of the migrants at this place have fled conflict, predominantly in Sudan and Libya, staying at what should be a temporary residence until they can either find asylum in a third country or a job in Rwanda.

The centre, however, is in a remote and arid corner of eastern Rwanda, where it sits on a plain of baked earth; a choking dust is easily kicked up. Residents face a bumpy, 20-minute drive just to reach the nearest tarmacked road, or nearly two hours to get to the capital, Kigali.

‘strict curve’

Despite official claims that the refugees are free to come and go as they please, soldiers with AK-47s guard the gate and it is patrolled by private security wielding batons, lending a constant air of lurking menace. There is said to be a strict curfew.

No asylum seekers sent from the UK are likely to be kept at the site, but the conditions there – described by some as “traumatizing” in a recent Telegraph investigation – will likely be similar to those they eventually experience.

Interviews with some of the more than 450 residents scattered across the ramshackle site were conducted under the close watch of a retinue of government officials.

While such scrutiny compelled the refugees to remain polite about their hosts throughout, they are clear that they do not see their future in Rwanda.

Nada Abdullah, 32, fled her home country of Sudan with her husband, leaving behind a life of appalling suffering.


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