A dozen Tanzanian buses arrived in Burundi on Wednesday carrying 229 Burundian refugees that had fled the country in 2015 during a volatile period after a failed coup d’état.
According to the Burundian government, the refugees arrived through Mugina border area in Makamba Province the southernmost province of Burundi.
Makamba Province received the most returnees from Tanzania to Burundi since they began repatriating.
Last year, Burundi and Tanzania agreed on a deal to begin forcefully repatriating almost 200,000 Burundi refugees. The pact was then signed between Tanzanian Interior Minister Kangi Lugola and his Burundi counterpart, Pascal Barandagiye.
Under the pact, Tanzanian government would expel Burundi refugees at the rate of 2,000 a week from several camps.
Burundi refugees in Tanzania distributed among the Nduta, Mtendeli and Nyarugusu camps.
Tanzania’s Lugola said the agreement was negotiated after both countries’ governments were “satisfied with the security situation in Burundi.”
However, some refugees are hesitant to return home saying they still hear reports of people being killed, some disappearing and some being arrested illegally.”
Burundi Elections In May
Burundi is scheduled to hold presidential elections in May despite the existing covid19 global epidemic which has also attacked Burundi with 3 officially confirmed cases that tested positive.
Critics inside Burundi say political repression is still ongoing including a violent crackdown and a prolonged period of political and economic instability in Burundi.
Since 2017, it has been extorting “contributions” from the Burundian people, ostensibly to fund the May 2020 elections. The Imbonerakure youth militia continues to collect money and goods- they act with impunity, is the main tool of this campaign of repression.
In May, Burundians will go to polls to elect a new president, members of parliament and district council representatives. However, the regime has cracked down on supporters of the main opposition party, the Congrès national pour la liberté (CNL), and other perceived dissenters.