Military intelligence chiefs from Rwanda and Burundi have been meeting at the Nemba border crossing between the two countries on Wednesday to discuss security issues that have strained relations, a source has intimated to APA in Kigali.The meeting was facilitated by Col Leon Mahoungou, the deputy Commander of the Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism, a regional military framework under the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
During the high-level security meeting, delegates from the two countries represented by Col Erneste Musaba, head of Burundian military intelligence and Brig. Gen. Vincent Nyakarundi, head of Rwanda’s Department of Military intelligence assessed the road map to ‘rebuild mutual trust between Kigali and Bujumbura.
The meeting came at a time when the first group of Burundian refugees are expected be repatriated on Thursday
The UN refugees agency said that the group will depart from the camp early morning of Thursday and head towards their exit at the border.
According to the Rwandan ministry of disaster management and refugees Affairs, the group, ranging between 500 and 600, will be repatriated on Thursday, August 27.
The repatriation follows last month’s petition, which was signed by over 330 Burundian refugees in Mahama camp, appealing to the new Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye for a dignified and lawful return to their home country.
The government of Rwanda said it was committed to the principle of voluntary repatriation as a durable solution for refugees, in accordance with international and domestic laws.
The petition letter also stressed that these refugees fled because of the political crisis and insecurity stemming mainly from former Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to serve a controversial third term.
But, they contended that peace has been restored in their country based on the fact that the third term threat was over, and an elected president is currently leading the country.
According to UNHCR figures, by the end of June 2020, there were more than 430,000 Burundian refugees scattered across the region.
Tanzania hosts the highest number with 164,87, DR Congo hosts 103,690, Rwanda 72,007, Uganda 48,275, Kenya 13,800, Mozambique 7,800, Malawi 8,300, South Africa 9,200 and Zambia is home to 6,000.
Mahama Refugee Camp located in Kirehe District in the Eastern Province has become the country’s largest camp – hosting Burundian refugees since the emergency.
It has a population of around 60,000 refugees.