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Over 30,000 Burundian refugees
repatriated from Tanzania: UNHCR

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- The United Nations refugees agency (UNHCR) said on Wednesday 37,000 Burundian refugees have voluntarily been repatriated from Tanzania between January and September this year.

UNHCR said in a statement that the 37,000 repatriated Burundian refugees bring to 48,930 the total number of refugees repatriated from Tanzania since September 2017.

The statement said 2,000 refugees were to be repatriated every week between April 5 and Dec. 31, 2018.

“Many of them returned to Muyinga, Ruyigi, Cankuzo, Makamba and Rutana provinces,” said the statement.

UNHCR said in the statement that 70 percent of the returnees had only one meal per day.

The statement added that 33 percent of the returnees found their land temporarily occupied by other people including family members while 79 percent of primary school children were not schooling.

The statement also said 72 percent of the returnees did not have birth certificates and 73 percent of them did not have national identity cards while 29 percent were without access to the health system due to financial problems.

Tanzania is the largest host of Burundian refugees in the region with over 312,000 refugees and asylum-seekers (figures as at end of April), including more than 250,000 Burundian refugees received since the outbreak of violence in Bujumbura in 2015.



Numbers of Burundian refugees return from
Tanzania hardly to meet target: official

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- It will be hard to reach the target of 72,000 Burundian refugees being repatriated from Tanzania by Dec. 2018 as set by a tripartite meeting on voluntary repatriation in March, a Burundian official said Tuesday.

During the March tripartite meeting attended by officials from Burundi, Tanzania and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the three parties agreed to repatriate at least 2,000 Burundian refugees per week and the target was to have repatriated some 72,000 refugees by the end of this year, assistant to the Burundian interior minister Therence Ntahiraja told Burundi-based Radio Isanganiro.

Depending on the progress that some 37,800 have been repatriated by the end of September, it will be hard to reach the target, said Ntahiraja.

According to him, UNHCR has failed to repatriate 2,000 refugees per week due to the insufficiency of logistical equipment.

UNHCR sometimes repatriated between 1,000 and 2,000 refugees or even less than 1,000 refugees per week, he said.

There are 383,283 Burundian refugees haven’t returned to Burundi, over half of them are living in Tanzania, according to figures from UNHCR, last updated on Aug. 31, 2018.

Most of the Burundian refugees fled the central African country since April 2015, when it plunged into a crisis after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term.


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