2,600 Burundian refugees return home

By Nicole Kamanzi M.
On 9 October 2020 at 01:02

Another batch of 500 Burundian refugees from 163 families who have been living in Rwanda have returned to their homeland, a home they last saw in 2015.

The refugees left the Mahama camp Yesterday at 6:30 a.m., heading for the Rwandan-Burundian border of Nemba in Bugesera District where they were due to enter their country.

This batch goes following more than 595 others returning earlier this month, including those in the Mahama camp of 452 and 143 others from the cities. The group that left on Thursday is the fifth since the resettlement of refugees began. 2606 have now returned.

When the first batch of refugees returned on August 27, the President of Burundi, Gen Maj Evaritse Ndayishimiye, welcomed them and asked for the rest to return.

“We welcome our relatives who have returned from exile in Mahama. It is a great joy for their families and for Burundi. The authorities were asked to support them in every possible way and return them to their families. We encourage others who want to return, Burundi is ours. Welcome to our home,” he said.

However, not all the Burundian refugees in Rwanda, who are about 72, 000, have expressed willingness to return, with one section saying that the conditions are not yet convincing, despite the country’s new President Maj. Gen Evariste Ndayishimiye declaring, upon taking office in June, that doors were open for refugees to freely return.

Majority of the refugees fled the country following the political crisis that gripped Burundi in 2015 when the then President, the late Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term, leading to countrywide protests as people opposed the move.