Provincial administration expels 57 Congolese in transit from Rumonge to Tanzania

Expelled Congolese came by boat

Expelled Congolese came by boat

“They came in groups. 39 Congolese arrived in Rumonge on 20 July while 18 others arrived on 21 of the same month”, says Juvénal Bigirimana, Rumonge province Governor. The majority of them were women and children. They entered Burundi through Rumonge port. They said they had fled confrontations between Mai-Mai rebel group and the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC) in the localities of Fizi and Missi in South Kivu. They said they passed through Rumonge southern province seeking to join Tanzanian refugee camps.

Juvénal Bigirimana says the movement of those Congolese people who said they sought asylum in Tanzania but avoided the official maritime path through Lake Tanganyika raised doubts. He also says he was suspicious about the fact that they told him they had to join Tanzania refugee camps via Rutana Province.

In addition, he says, 37 were children who could not recognize their parents among 20 adult people with them. . “It should be a human trafficking”, he says.

On 22 July, the 57 Congolese refugees were taken to the DRC Embassy in Bujumbura. They have been forcibly deported to the Burundi-DRC border-(Kamvivira), on the same day to be taken back to their localities where they came from.

Rights groups deplore the decision taken by the administration. They say the international refugee convention has not been respected . Rights groups call for the identification of those Congolese refugees first instead of forcibly repatriating them home. They also exhorted Burundi government to collaborate with the UN refugee agency in order to give them asylum.

According to the figures of the UN refugee Agency in Burundi updated on 30 April 2017, 61,427 refugees from DRC are sheltered in different refugee camps in Burundi.