All inhabitable villages of Rwanda are freely accessible for everyone and at all times. For residents of Nyamagana cell, Ruhango sector in Ruhango district however, one village called Nyarusange has become a nightmare.
When the sun finally disappears, and darkness takes over, no ordinary villager passes through this village. Residents say gangs rule the area from 7pm until the next morning.
Because of the horrors these gangs, said to be heavy drug users, inflict on residents, they have given the area a nickname “Muyurupfu” (loosely translated as “death spot”).
If you risk going through the village, the gangs will stop you and then terrorise you. They will take everything on you, including the clothes you are wearing if they are deemed valuable.
Byamana Stanislas, who lives near this deadly village has seen it all, a situation he says has been like this for sometime.
He did try using the route to go to another village as darkness fell. The gang attacked him and took his phone and money he was carrying to buy some items. He has never risked going by that route at night again.
The area is covered by a small forest and bush, in which the gangs easily camouflage waiting for their next victim.
Local residents say girls and woman have been robbed and raped, claims which cannot be independently verified. But they indicate the level of fear the residents have developed.
Byamana and others say there have been repeated security operations in the area and the gangs have been taken away by police. However, a few days later, they return.
A journalist of UKWEZI, a local publication, which first reported about this village, decided to test the claims of the residents by going through the village. The journalist visited the area with a local person.
When the gangs noticed people approaching, they came out and when they saw the resident with the journalist, they ran away – perhaps suspecting it was security officials.
Ruhango district mayor Habarurema Valens admitted that he is aware of the security situation in his village, and actually knows it is called “Muyurupfu”.
“I will engage with security agencies to find a lasting solution for this area,” he said, adding, “The area cannot continue to be associated with death. The name (Muyurupfu) will have to change.”