Over 350 Burundian refugees repatriated from Tanzania

More than 350 Burundian refugees out of 1000 refugees who were expected to return to Burundi from Nduta and Mtenderi refugee camps in Tanzania were voluntarily repatriated this 7 February.

Burundian returnees spent their night in the transit center in Nyabitare zone before going back to their families on 8 February

They are from 107 families and include 175 men and 160 women. They arrived at Gisuru border in Ruyigi eastern province around 9:00 a.m.
They came in five buses accompanied by an officer of the UN refugees Agency and some security officers from Tanzania.

On Gisuru border, they were welcomed by a UNHCR team based in Ruyigi Province and the Director General in charge of repatriation at the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Those Burundian returnees say it is huge relief for them as they were not free in the host country. Adam Miburo, 22, fled the country in 2016. He says life was very hard in Nduta refugee camp. “We were not allowed to move freely”, he says adding that they were also given insufficient food.
Francois Bukuru, another returnee, says he has been waiting to return home for a long time. He had gone to Tanzania in 2016 to look for a job.

He was later arrested by the police and taken to Nduta refugee camp. “When you are arrested, you choose between the prison and staying in a refugee camp. I was not allowed to go back home,” he says.
Mariane Hakuziyaremye, a returnee from Cendajuru Commune in Cankuzo Province says her house was destroyed after she fled the country in 2015. She however hopes her neighbors will welcome her.
“When you are not at your home, you are always a looser,” she says. She asks for humanitarian assistance and calls on the government to rehabilitate her house.

Chantal Hatungimana, Director in charge of repatriation at the Ministry of Home Affairs exhorts the returnees to work hard to prevent hunger in the localities where they live.
She says Burundi government in collaboration with UNCHR will support them for their social integration.

Saoudatou Bah-Mansaré, Head of the UNHCR team in Ruyigi, says returnees will receive assistance for their integration.

They will receive food and non-food assistance, an amount of BIF 70,000 for each adult person and BIF 35, 000 for younger people under 18.

The returnees spent a night at the transit zone located in Nyabitare zone in Gisuru Commune and are supposed to join their families this 8 February.

UNHCR and partners began to assist the voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees in August 2017 as a durable solution for those who expressed a desire to return home.