Govt reaffirms stay of Burundi refugees

03Dec 2019
By Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Govt reaffirms stay of Burundi refugees

HOME Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola has vehemently refuted claims that the government has been expelling Burundian refugees living in various settlements and camps in Kigoma, Tabora and Katavi regions.

Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola (C ), United Nations High Commission for Refugees Deputy Commissioner George  Okoth  Obbo   (L) and Burundi Home Affairs Minister exchanges Pascal Barandagiye (R) exchange an agreement on the repatriation of Burundi refugees who want to go back home voluntarily in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Photo: Home Affairs

Lugola made the remarks when speaking at a tripartite meeting in Dar es Salaam yesterday with the Burundi government and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). A special agreement signed by all the three sides will enable the return of refugees who had asked to go back to their country as peace continues to improve in that country.

Lugola said that the government ought to put it clear so that the international community and various parties understand that when Tanzania says it is expatriating Burundian refugees “what we and the Burundi government do is merely to mobilize, to encourage those who are ready to return on their own accord, to go back.”

“Hence, while we do that others wrongly translate that we are expelling them. That is not right.”

Speaking at the meeting, the Burundi Minister for Home Affairs Pascal Barandagiye said Burundi is now peaceful and beseeched citizens of that country to return home to build their nation.

“We are assuring that as a country we are able to receive 2,000 Burundians each week and we shall ensure all Burundians return home. We shall follow them everywhere to ask them to return so that we build our nation.”

On his part the Assistant UNHCR Commissioner George Okoth Obbo said they have cooperated with the two countries of Burundi and Tanzania to ensure there is a safe and humanitarian environment in the conduct of the exercise, thanking Tanzanians for kind hospitality in welcoming and keeping the refugees. 

One month has passed since President John Magufuli, during his visit in Katavi region, directed all sides concerned with refugees to meet and discuss the issue of Burundian refugees who register themselves to go back home as it was high time they did so. He warned all those who engage themselves in criminal activities to stop.

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