Burundi: Why the craze of Burundian refugees to return to their motherland?

Burundi: Why the craze of Burundian refugees to return to their motherland?
The repatriation movement of Burundians in refugee camps in the Great Lakes region has started tentatively, but has gained momentum in recent times. 1,241 Burundians from Mahama camp in Rwanda were voluntarily repatriated on February 17, 2021, while 190 also returned to their homeland from Kavimvira camp in DRCongo. Why this craze?
It must be said that what motivates refugees to return to their country is that their problem is solved. In our countries, some are fleeing famine, others, and most of them, are fleeing persecution and insecurity in their country of origin. Most of the Burundians who are in the refugee camps in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have fled the insecurity that reigned in the country, especially following Nkurunziza Pierre’s illegal and illegitimate 3rd term. No one is unaware that there are also some, especially those who live in the border provinces with neighbouring countries, who take advantage of the departure of others to go to countries of asylum, or to initiate income-producing activities such as trade, agriculture and others. Others flee famine when the harvest has not been good
According to the law governing refugees, repatriation must be voluntary. That is, when what caused someone to flee is gone. But, it was noticed that the Burundian refugees who were in Tanzania were persecuted by imbonerakure who pretended to be refugees, in collaboration with the Tanzanian police to force them to return to the country; a manoeuvre concocted by the power in Burundi with the power in Tanzania in order to deceive the opinion that security is total because even the refugees are returning home. This is how some refugees were killed, others imprisoned, others arrested by the Tanzanian police and handed over to the Burundian intelligence service; others who remained in the camps were deprived of all income-generating activities as UNHCR assistance gradually dwindled. It is for this reason that most have been forced to return despite the continuing insecurity in the country for fear of dying in refugee camps in Tanzania.
The first Burundian refugees left Mahama camp in Rwanda on August 27, 2020; they were less than 500; today, they exceed 1,000 refugees per turn, and there is a repatriation movement every week. The first 286 Burundians officially left the Sange and Kavimvira transit camp in DRCongo on September 23, 2020, while the first 227 Burundians were repatriated by humanitarian flight from Uganda on December 14, 2020.
There is reason to believe that the acceleration of repatriation to Rwanda is due to the recent announcement by the UNHCR of a 60% reduction in the assistance granted to refugees, those who are in the DRC were used to spending more than 3 months without assistance none, and those in Tanzania continue to suffer the same harassment from Tanzanian security agents in collaboration with the imbonerakure militia and the Burundian intelligence service.
There is also reason to believe that the refugees are persuaded by the lull and the tantalizing speeches of Evariste Ndayishimiye who, at one moment calls on the refugees to return to their native country, at another begins to compare them to goats of countries of asylum.
The lull does not mean that people are not being killed in Burundi. The criminals instead found other strategies to kill them silently and without exposing the corpses. We used to find at least 20 bodies every month, especially on the Rusizi. Probably they decided to attach large stones to the corpses before throwing them into the water so that they did not rise to the surface as Aimée Irambona was going to do, this head of town planning in Gitega and responsible imbonerakures who was arrested by the police on December 26, 2020 with the corpse of Ezechiel Ndayisenga and a large stone in his vehicle. He was going to throw him into the Ruvyironza, and no one would have known he was murdered.
The returnees from Mahama in Rwanda should also be reminded that instructions were given to the administrators and imbonerakure to closely monitor all refugees from Rwanda because the power of Evariste Ndaysihimiye suspects them of having learned the art of fighting; which is a false pretext to harm them. A certain Eric, from Gatete hill, Gasare zone in Busoni commune in Kirundo, repatriated in the 3rd round on the appeal of President Ndayishimiye was kidnapped from his home after two days and killed in September 2020. This is just an illustrative case.
URN HITAMWONEZA has no intention of preventing or scaring those Burundians who want to return to their country. It is their most absolute right. But, let everyone analyse the situation and decide to come back in good conscience without blindly following the movement of the others because they have not all fled the same thing. UNHCR should make a special effort to seek the assistance necessary for the good survival of those who will remain in the camps and to ensure that the host countries provide them with the necessary security; otherwise, finding them another host country when they feel insecure where they are is the rule.

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