Several Mutakura and Cibitoke residents back home

Residents of Mutakura and Cibitoke areas located in northern Bujumbura say several of their neighbors who had fled to other places during the demonstrations against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term have now returned except some who went abroad. About 50 percent of the refugees have returned, local administration says.

Félix Nsabimana, Chief of Cibitoke zone: "Peace and security are currently prevalent."

Félix Nsabimana, Chief of Cibitoke zone: “Peace and security are currently prevalent.”

“Some people, who fled to other countries during the protest period, remained there. But, those who went to other quarters of Bujumbura or different provinces of the country have already come back”, says Diomède Mbonabuca, one of Mutakura residents.

Another resident of Cibitoke area says on condition of anonymity that security prevails nowadays. “Many people have fled but they are returning now. I think 70 percent of them are already back “, he says.

One Mutakura inhabitant anonymously says he is among those who fled during the demonstration period “I used to live in Mutakura before the crisis, but now, I live in Buterere, one of Bujumbura quarters which remained calm”. He also says only three among nine of his former Mutakura neighbors have returned. Elvis Irankunda, a shop owner in Mutakura, says the quarter is safe but shopkeepers do not earn much because many of clients have fled.

Immaculée Nshimirimana, an old lady living in Cibitoke locality says it is nowadays calm as there are no more shootings. “Last year, we could go to work and couldn’t find a way back home”, says a former resident of Mutakura.

Félix Nsabimana, chief of Cibitoke area says peace and security are currently prevalent in the locality and that over 50 percent of people who had fled the area during the crisis have already returned. He also calls on all residents who are still in exile and aren’t guilty of any crime to come back to their homes.

Mutakura and Cibitoke are localities where there had been bitter and armed confrontations between security forces and demonstrators during the protest period that started on 25th April 2015 after Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for the third term in office.

Since then, various reports say hundreds of people have been killed and hundreds of thousands of Burundians have fled the country to neighboring countries.