Rwanda: Burundians continue to flee to Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - About 200 Burundian crossed into southwestern Rwanda late on  Wednesday, as Burundians they continue to flee the violence in the country related to the forthcoming elections.

The new arrivals bring the total number of registered fresh Burundian refugees in Rwanda to 24,771, the Rwandan Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugees said on Wednesday in Kigali.

It said in a statement that the Burundians had been taken to the transit site of Rusizi in southwestern Rwanda where some of their compatriots, including former judicial and local administrative leaders, had been accommodated.

Reports say that among former senior Burundian officials who fled to Rwanda is the vice-president of the Constitutional Court of Burundi, Sylvère Nimpagaritse, who arrived on Monday via the border post of Ruhwa in the southwest after he refused to approve the disputed candidature of the incumbent President Peter Nkurunziza who is attempting to stand for a third term.

In a related development, the European Union's (EU) humanitarian assistance has enabled the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to distribute warm clothing and blankets to a group of Burundian refugees who were transferred to the newly established camp of Mahama, in eastern Rwanda, a few kilometers from the Tanzanian border.

They have reportedly run away from their villages, fearing they could be attacked by elements of pro-government youths, locally known as "Imbonerakure", meaning those who see far, who have been unleashing terror in Burundi rural areas.

Burundi goes to the polls in May for parliamentary elections, and then in June for presidential election. But tension has been high ahead of the polls.

Local observers say the tension has been exacerbated by President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term, in violation of the Arusha peace and reconciliation deal that brought the country's civil war to an end.

According to the Rwandan government, around  24,771 asylum seekers from Burundi have arrived in the country since last month.
-0- PANA TWA/MA 6May2015

06 may 2015 20:22:45

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