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Tanzania to send back 200,000 Burundian refugees

Tanzania will in October this year send back some 200,000 Burundian refugees.

Burundi and Tanzania agreed to this move stating that the repatriation of these refugees would start on October 1.

The refugees settled in the Nyarugusu, Nduta and Mtendeli camps in Tanzania’s south-western province of Kigoma.

Interior Minister in Bujumbura, Pascal Barandagiye, told journalists that the agreement for the return of the refugees took place at the weekend.

Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola also said it is willing to assist for the safe return of “all Burundians”.

The government of Tanzania insists Burundi “is peaceful” but there are fears over forced return of these refugees.

In 2015 hundreds of Burundians were killed in clashes with security forces, when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third.

More than 400,000 then fled the violence seeking refuge in countries like Tanzania, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The UNHCR has already revealed that around 75,000 Burundians have already returned home in the past two years.

It said “We are assisting refugees who indicate they have made a free and informed choice to voluntarily return.”

But Burundi has also in the past witnessed a civil war that ended in 2005 when Nkurunziza, a former ethnic Hutu guerrilla leader, came to power in 2005.

That war resulted in the death of some 300,000 people.

Nkurunziza’s likelihood of staying in power until 2034 is sparking concerns despite saying he will not seek re-election next year.

A referendum this year however allows him to re-run as part of new changes to constitution.


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