UNHCR official assesses peace process in Burundi

Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- An official of the UN refugees agency has dismissed the argument that groups of Burundians in exile could use their repatriation to create insecurity in the country.
Chrysantus Ache, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) coordinator in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, said on arrival in Bujumbura late Wednesday that refugees wishing to return home should be registered in their host countries.
He said the UNHCR and the international community could assist thousands of the refugees to repatriate as the peace process in Burundi takes hold.
Authorities in Burundi, Ache said, should take into account the situation of the refugees in the ongoing peace process in order to facilitate their reintegration in society.
According to the official, protagonists in the Burundi crisis seem to have made some progress on the road to peace.
"The peace process should solve the cease-fire issue," he said in reference to armed groups opposed to the government in Bujumbura.
Statistics available at Burundi's ministry responsible for reintegration and resettlement of displaced persons and refugees show that in June 2000 there were 346,025 Burundians in refugee camps in neighbouring Tanzania.
Around the same period 1,207 others had sought refuge in Rwanda, 20,000 in DR Congo and 1,164 in Zambia.
More Burundian refugees were scattered in smaller numbers in different Africa countries.
The Republic of Congo hosted 274, Cameroon 270, Malawi 200, Angola 150, Kenya 143, Mozambique had seven while Guinea and South Africa had two each.

14 june 2001 14:59:00

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