Burundian refugees resettled

More than 400 Burundian refugees relocated from Nyanza District in Southern Province have been resettled in Mahama Sector, Kirehe District. These are part of the 10,232 Burundians recorded (as of Wednesday), who arrived in Rwanda since March 31.
Refugees in Mahama sector wait for accomodation on Wednesday. (Stephen Rwembeho)
Refugees in Mahama sector wait for accomodation on Wednesday. (Stephen Rwembeho)

More than 400 Burundian refugees relocated from Nyanza District in Southern Province have been resettled in Mahama Sector, Kirehe District.

These are part of the 10,232 Burundians recorded (as of Wednesday), who arrived in Rwanda since March 31.

Refugee families were provided shelter, given access to clean water, a mobile clinic and police protection.

Charles Nzotungikimpaye, a refugee, appealed for intervention to avert potential election violence in Burundi.

“It is a time bomb…it may explode any time. We were harassed; our property was destroyed or taken by the militia. So many people have died in the process, all this happened in our communities, so we are talking about what we know, UN should intervene before it is too late,” he said.

Refugee arrivals in Rwanda were averaging 310 per day last week but has since increased to an average of over 560, according to UNHCR.

According to the UN agency statistics, 92 per cent of registered Burundians originate from Kirundo province which borders Rwanda, with 60 per cent being children, while 25 per cent are women.

In the new Mahama camp, the local host community is helping the American Refugee Committee (ARC) in construction of tents supplied by UNHCR for individual refugee families.

Arrangements were also underway to provide families with kitchen ware and food so they can cook their own meals, the refugee agency said.

Jean Claude Rwahama, the in charge of refugees’ affairs at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs, said the transfer was in line with the UN directives that refugees should be hosted in at least 50 kilometers away from their country of origin.

“The number keeps on changing…as we talk now, I have just been told that hundreds more have entered the country. It is a challenge, but we are doing everything to manage the influx,” he said on Wednesday.

Rwahama said that camp in Nyanza District, where the refugees had earlier been settled was congested.

“The new site is spacious enough to accommodate thousands,” he said.

Refugees who spoke to The New Times said they were fleeing from growing violence ahead of parliamentary and presidential elections.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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