A second batch of 507 Burundian refugees who were settled in Rwanda since 2015 have been voluntarily repatriated, according to the UN refugees agency statement obtained Friday by APA in Kigali.This voluntary repatriation of Burundian refugees after their Congolese peers settled in various refugee camps of Kiziba (West) and Gihembe (North of Rwanda) have also been seeking to be repatriated home despite objection by Rwandan officials over security concern which is still prevailing in their home village.
Departing Burundian refugees were tested for COVID-19 before boarding and sitting in accordance to Rwanda’s measures in the fight against COVID-19 spread.
While some refugees commended the hospitality they enjoyed while in Rwanda, the majority of them fled the country following the political crisis that gripped Burundi in 2015 when the then President, the late Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term, leading to countrywide protests as people opposed the move.
However, some of the refugees who decided to remain in Rwanda for security reasons have accused Burundian President Ndayishimiye of peddling lies, stoking conflict in the region instead working towards unifying the country and restoring relations with neighbouring countries.
Representatives of Burundian refugees said that the Burundian leader failed to live up to the promise he made during his swearing-in ceremony in June this year, during which he declared that he will ensure that all Burundian refugees who were still in neighbouring countries would return home, in a bid to reconcile the country.
The new accusations follow recent comments made by Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye who said that his government will not seek to make friends with a country which he did not name, which harbours his country’s enemies and holds Burundian refugees at ransom.
So far, UNHCR has registered 1,800 of nearly 72,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda who wish to be repatriated.
The ongoing repatriation exercise comes into force after over 330 Burundian refugees appealed for a dignified and lawful return to their home country, in a petition to the new Burundian President, Evariste Ndayishimiye.