Thousands of Burundian refugees transferred to Nyarushishi transit camp

Burundian refugees who this week crossed into Rwanda from their camp in Kamanyola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been transferred to Nyarushishi transit camp in Rusizi District.
Rwahama speaks during a past function at Mahama Refugee Camp. Courtesy.
Rwahama speaks during a past function at Mahama Refugee Camp. Courtesy.

Burundian refugees who this week crossed into Rwanda from their camp in Kamanyola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo have been transferred to Nyarushishi transit camp in Rusizi District.

According to Jean Claude Rwahama, the director of refugee affairs unit at the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDMAR), the new arrivals total 2,554, most of them women and children.

“Women are 1,002, children are 1,088 while men are 463,” he said told Saturday Times, adding that all have been transferred from Bugarama where they were initially received by government and its partners.

He said that MIDMAR is yet to establish when to move the Burundians to a permanent camp and where to move them to, saying this was still being looked into.

“In the meantime, we’ll be giving them all the necessary requirements as we would in a permanent camp. The only difference is that in transit camps, there are common facilities compared to individual shelters in permanent camps,” he explained.

These refugees join another caseload of Burundian refugees in Rwanda – over 80,000 of them – who started arriving in the country when their country plunged into a crisis over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s re-election bid in 2015.

The latest arrivals say they fled their camp in DR Congo – where they had arrived over the unrest in Burundi – because of insecurity and fears for forced repatriation back home.

Rwahama said there are 15,000 Burundian refugees in Kigali, – down from the initial count of 30,000 – after many of them left the capital and went to refugee camps.

The majority of Burundian refugees in Rwanda are at Mahama refugee camp in Kirehe District.

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