Society

Kagaragara residents forcibly evicted from their homes

The administration of Bubanza western province of Burundi has thrown out more than 2000 people from Kagaragara locality of Buringa Commune on the grounds of security and preservation of the protected areas. They say they do not know where to go to and call for humanitarian assistance.

Kagaragara residents evicted from their homes have nowhere to go

Kagaragara residents evicted from their homes have nowhere to go

“The police have moved us away from the Buringa zone office in the early morning of 20 February”, says a mother of six. She says security forces have beaten them accusing them of refusing to leave the place. “From now on, we don’t know where to go,” says a woman met in Buringa zone of Gihanga commune, in tears. She also says they live in dire straits. “Our children will die of hunger as we have just spent four days without eating”, says another woman crying.
Residents of Kagaragara say their houses have been destroyed and some of their injured children are now hospitalized. “It is regrettable to see that old people with their children and grand -children are wandering with no destination”, says another old woman.

They call on the Head of State to intervene. “Since 20 February, security forces are chasing us away. They oblige us to leave the place without indicating the destination. We wonder whether or not we are Burundians. If we have another nationality, they may help us join our mother country,” says a mother of six. “The governor has ordered the destruction of our houses. He promised the place to shelter us but in vain”, says a mother of a nine-month kid, who passed out after breastfeeding her kid.

Administrative officials say the residents of Kagaragara hill were moved from their places for two reasons: security and preservation of protected areas of the Rukoko National Park.

In January 2017, three Burundian ministers of National Defense, Public Security and Home Affairs held a security meeting in Gihanga commune of Bubanza Province. They said the Kagaragara residents must leave the locality. “This place that borders the DRC and Rukoko Natural Park can be the target of enemy infiltrations”, said Pascal Barandagiye, Home Affairs Minister in the meeting.

On 21 December 2016, the Burundian Ombudsman, Edouard Nduwimana, promised to set up a commission to resolve the issue of Kagaragara residents. The latter said they occupied the place since 1952 and their lands are located between Rukoko National Park and Rusizi Wildlife Park in Bubanza western province of Burundi.

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