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Malawi/Rwanda: Child reunited with his parents

30-01-2004 News Release 04/07

In 1995, along with thousands of other Rwandans, Laurent, Françoise and their two children fled the violence in their country and sought refuge in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).

They settled in a place called Mbaraka, where they had a third child named Eric in 1997.

In 2002 the war in eastern Congo spread to Mbaraka and once again people were forced to flee for their lives. In the confusion, Eugenie, an old family acquaintance, managed to save five-year-old Eric, which whom she found shelter in a refugee camp in Malawi.

All contact having been lost between Eric and his family, in January 2003 Eric was registered as an unaccompanied child and Eugenie sent a Red Cross message on his behalf to try and locate his parents back in Rwanda. The ICRC's tracing offices in Rwanda and Harare later managed to find Laurent and Françoise and, with the help of the Malawi Red Cross Society and other humanitarian organizations, sent him back to Rwanda, where he was finally handed over to his mother after more than a year of separation.

Acting in coordination with the National Societies of Botswana, Malawi and Mozambique, the ICRC’s regional delegation in Harare, its mission in Zambia and its office in Namibia are currently seeking to find the parents of 255 children who were separated from their families as a result of the conflicts in Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Marco Jimenez, ICRC Harare, tel. ++263 4 790268/9