RUSIZI — 247 Rwandans were last week repatriated from Burundi, immigration and security officials said at the weekend.
At least 115 of them arrived in Rwanda last Friday via Ruhwa border post in Rusizi district, while 136 arrived over the weekend.
The immigration officials at the border told The New Times that the returnees were forcibly repatriated by Burundian military officials who handed them over to Rwandan officials at the border.
They include Rwandans who left the country in 1950, 1970 and during the 1994 Rwandan Genocide against the Tutsis.
According to the returnees’ account, most of them have been living in the areas of Rugombo, Mugina and Mabaya communes near Rusizi district, while the others were from the Burundian capital, Bujumbura.
The immigration officials explained that those repatriated had been living in Burundi illegally.
“We have been chased from Burundi by their military personnel without even prior notice and they never allowed us to pack our properties. So, we call upon the government of Rwanda to help us recover our properties,” said one Christopher Habamenshi.
Another returnee, David Sekamana claimed that they left a lot of money in various banks in Burundi. He explained that they were called for a meeting but surprisingly when they reached at the venue, they were just told to board military trucks which brought them to the border.
Some of his colleagues left behind their children, wives and husbands, he said. They are temporarily being helped with food aid by Rusizi district pending resettlement in their former home areas of Nyamagabe, Huye, Rusizi and the Eastern Province.