Burundian refugees in Mahama Camp, in the Eastern Province have been cautioned against engaging in illegal activities. The warning was sounded Friday by the Minister of Refugee Affairs and Disaster Management, Seraphine Mukantabana, during a visit to the camp.
“There are some people who come to destabilize others by encouraging them to go back home and engage in political activities. Always report such incidents when they occur because anyone caught will be punished, I kindly ask you to desist from such activities of bad harmful political ideologies,” she said.
The minister was visiting the camp together with officials from United National High Commission for Refugees and the national police.
“Let me take this opportunity to remind you that as refugees you are bound to the laws of our country as any other citizen. It is for your own good to comply with the laws of our country and to focus on your welfare,” she added.
The UNHCR High Commissioner, Dr Azam Sable, also emphasized to the refugees that if they participate in any political or military activities, it will be difficult for UNHCR to continue helping them and urged them not to engage in them at all.
“We have received information about people who disguise as refugees yet they are here to politically corrupt you and make you engage in activities that don’t add any value to you. So, if you participate in these activities, you’ll be trespassing against a country that received and helped and it’ll also be difficult for us to continue helping you,” he said.
Apart from engaging in illegal political activities, the national police also cautioned them against committing crimes against other refugees or even in neighbouring areas.
The head of Criminal Investigations Department, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Theos Badege, said they already had some people in custody who were caught in criminal activities.
“We have some people in custody who committed crimes such as rape, theft and using or selling illicit drugs. It is very sad that people who fled their country because of instability are the same people causing,” he said.
Badege also urged the refugees to be at the forefront in fighting against instability in the camp as well as adhering to the laws that govern them.
Mahama Camp is home to 44,000 refugees who started arriving in the country in April this year after civil unrest broke out in Burundi.