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Human Rights Watch Accuses Tanzania Of Torturing Burundian Refugees

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The Human Rights Watch said in its new report that Security forces in Tanzania have arbitrarily detained, tortured and forcibly disappeared at least 18 Burundian refugees since late last year.

“Between October 2019 and August 2020, Tanzanian police and intelligence services forcibly disappeared, tortured, and arbitrarily detained at least 11 Burundians for up to several weeks in abysmal conditions in a police station in Kibondo, Kigoma region,” the report indicated on Monday.

By October, Tanzania was still hosting more than 150,000 refugees in three camps, but almost 100,000 people have returned to Burundi since September 2017.

In testimony gathered by the NGO, nine of the detainees at Kibondo were reportedly tortured before they were returned to the Mtendeli and Nduta camps in Kigoma.

“The Burundians said that Tanzanian police detained them in rooms with no electricity or windows, took them to a separate building on the police station grounds, and hanged them from the ceiling by their handcuffs,” the report said.

“Some said that police and intelligence agents gave them electric shocks, rubbed their faces and genitals with chili, and beat and whipped them,”HRW said.

In certain cases, police and intelligence officers told refugees that they had been given information about them by Burundian authorities, “suggesting collusion between agents from the two countries,” the report said.

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