Panafrican News Agency

Third group of 511 Burundian refugees repatriated from Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda (PANA) - The second group of 511 Burundian refugees were repatriated on Thurday from Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda, the Ministry of Emergency Management confirmed to PANA in Kigali.

The  repatriation process started after 330 Burundian refugees appealed for a dignified and lawful return to their home country, in a petition issued in August this year to the new Burundian President, Evariste Ndayishimiye.

They also copied their request to the  Government of Rwanda and the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR).  

"We want bilateral talks between Burundi and Rwanda in the presence of UNHCR so that we gain our rights and dignity and return home," the petition read in part. 

The first group of 493 Burundian refugees were handed over to the Burundian authorities at Nemba One-Stop border post in Bugesera District on August 28, after they voluntarily requested to return home.

Prior to repatriation, refugees underwent Covid-19 tests from which all passed.

So far, 1,082 households of 3,897 Burundian refugees in the camp have registered at UNHCR requesting to return home.

Many Burundians fled to Rwanda following the political turmoil that was triggered by the 2015 election, which saw, now deceased, former President Pierre Nkurunziza win a third term in office.

-0- PANA TWA/AR 24Sept2020