Tanzania: President Nkurunziza urges Barundi refugees in Tanzania to return home

Ngara, Tanzania (PANA) – Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, on a day’s working visit to Tanzania, on Thursday urged all Barundi refugees to repatriate, assuring them that peace reigns throughout their home country.

“Burundi is peaceful and we are inviting our brothers and sisters who fled the country to return home. Over 100,000 former refugees have voluntarily gone back without assistance from the United Nations refugee agency,” he said at a public rally, which he addressed with his host, President John Pombe Magufuli, at Ngara town in northwestern Tanzania.

“We have peace at home and we are very thankful to the people of Tanzania who have for many years hosted refugees from Burundi,” Nkurunziza said.

The rally followed a consultation on bilateral affairs between his delegation, which included External Relations Minister, Alain Aimé Nyamitwe, Ministers of Finance, Defence and East African Cooperation Affairs and their Tanzanian counterparts in the border town of Ngara.

President Magufuli said the two sides concentrated on bilateral cooperation with trade at the centre of the talks.

“We are asking Tanzanians to visit Burundi as their home so that we can work together to bring about the development of our countries. Barundi and Tanzanians need to live together and collaborate as neighbours,” Nkurunziza stated.

Clarifying on the refugee situation in Tanzania, Home Affairs Minister, Mwigulu Nchemba, slammed foreign groups and their agents who spread lies about imaginary conflict in Burundi.

He said that at the height of the recent disturbances in that country, Tanzania granted  asylum to 247,000 refugees and 150,000 of them have since repatriated on their own arrangement.

“Presently, we have listed 5,000 more who want to return to Burundi and we are working out logistics to assist them on repatriation. Dignity and humanity require people to live in their own country,” the minister added.

On his part, President Magufuli said: “Burundi and Tanzania have immense relationship. Tanzania will always cherish good neighbourliness with all member countries of the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community. The modern world is about trade. World development is based on trade and the benefit of good neighbourliness is trade.”

On the question of refugees, Magufuli said that Tanzania would no longer grant citizenship to mass groups of refugees as it did in the past.

“This practice must stop forthwith so that other people do not misuse it as an agenda to run away from their country of origin. Tanzania had 121 native ethnic communities, but now we have 123 after the addition of Bahutu and Batutsi from both Burundi and Rwanda.

“I am not expelling anybody, but those who are still classified as refugees should prepare to go back home on their own. Foreign organizations must stop the endless narrative of conflict in Burundi. Let our people learn how to build their economy and develop their countries,” Magufuli emphasized.
-0- PANA AR/VAO 20July2017

20 july 2017 14:11:23

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