Trucks loaded with a total of 1600 Burundian Nationals on Tuesday morning arrived in Bukavu, Southern Province as they waited to proceed to their country of Origin.
Most of the Burundi nationals were gathered from the Northern Kivu Province of the vast mineral rich neighbour.
Reports indicate that these Burundi nationals were also picked from Goma, others were living in Bukavu and others coming from the territories of Kalehe and Kabare.
Some of them were delivered in Bukavu by boats code named Emmanuel 2 and 3. At Port Mbiza, they were greeted by Vice-Governor Marc Malago, the Commander of the 33 military region, Maj. Gen. Akili Muhindo Charles and other personalities.
According to the Congolese Government, the people being repatriated back to Burundi belong to a religious sect that was previously hounded by the Burundi government. They originally lived in Burundian province of Kayanza.
“Presented as followers of the prophetess Zebiya Ngendakumana, they are turned back because they are in an irregular situation in the DRC,” the Congolese government said Tuesday 37 of them were killed in 2017 following clashes with the Congolese soldiers in Kamanyola.
Most of the refugees have been living in DRC since 2015, when political violence erupted in Burundi over the president’s decision to seek a disputed third term.
In September 2017, 36 Burundian refugees were killed by Congolese troops while protesting the expulsion of four of their countrymen from Congo.
In 2018, a total of 2500 refugees fled DRC and crossed to Rwanda seeking shelter because of fears they were going to be forcibly repatriated back to Burundi.
Citing their religious beliefs, after arriving in Rwanda, these refugees then refused to have their fingerprints taken by refugee officials.
DRC has been sheltering roughly more than 44,000 refugees from Burundi.