25 April 2017

Burundi: Food Aid From Rwanda Sent Back Over Security Reasons

On 21 April, the WFP convoy carrying food aid from Rwanda was blocked at Gasenyi border in Kirundo Northern Province. The 300 tons of beans intended for 112, 000 people were sent back to Rwanda, on 24 April, for security reasons, police source says.

The WFP trucks carrying 300 tons of beans for 112, 000 Congolese refugees and the most vulnerable Burundian people have been blocked at Gasenyi-Nemba (the border separating Burundi and Rwanda) in Kirundo Northern Province for four days over security reasons. "Since 2015, security has been disrupted by troublemakers from Rwanda. They have been arrested and their weapons seized as well", says Pierre Nkurikiye, the police spokesperson. He also says the troublemakers from Rwanda attacked Burundi and killed people. "Everyone knows that security problems come from Rwanda", says Nkurikiye. He says all goods passing through the northern corridor will be checked thoroughly before any other decision could be taken.

Nicole Jacquet, Deputy Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) says WFP cannot buy food at local markets during this period of crisis in the country. "It cannot run the risk of destabilizing the local markets which are already weak. The WFP goes to the regional markets from the procurement centers in the neighboring countries (Uganda, Kenya and Uganda"), says Jacquet.

The Deputy Country Director says the central purchasing agencies deal with these markets to buy more quantities at lower prices to feed more people. About 500 tons were brought from Kigali-Rwanda through the northern corridor. "As Burundi is a landlocked country, we have to use the three corridors (north, center and south) including Gasenyi-Nemba border", says Jacquet

"We did not want to jeopardize the convoy"

Nicole Jacquet says the 300 tons of beans which have already reached the border have not been allowed to enter the country by the police. "We were told that there was a security problem and the WFP did not want to endanger its convoy. So we decided to send trucks back to Kigali procurement center", she says.

The WFP Deputy Country Director wonders whether or not the northern corridor will be reused. "It is very important. If it does not work, other corridors will charge us additional transportation fees. This is a loss for WFP", she says.

Nicole Jacquet also says that WFP has already lost $ 35,000 for transportation.

On 19 January 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the United Nations, officially launched the Burundi Humanitarian Response 2017. The plan aimed at assisting about three million people who are vulnerable due to food insecurity and other challenges.

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