TANZANIA and Burundi are determined to repatriate Burundian refugees from various camps in Kigoma region, even without the participation of international community.
The two countries have unanimously agreed that it is now high time to implement agreements, which were made last year, involving Tanzania, Burundi and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Tanzania's Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola told reporters here over the weekend that there was no further discussion on the matter for now on how to bring the refugees back to their home country.
"What is now in place is implementation of agreements that the three parties reached on March 28, 2018," Mr Lugola affirmed.
In the agreements, the three parties resolved to return 2000 refugees back to Burundi every week but implementation has been sluggish and at some points managed to transport only 300 refugees.
The minister visited two refugee camps-Mtendeli and Nduta-where he held talks with representatives from the Burundian government and UNHCR.
He also had private meeting with Burundian Interior Minister Pascal Barandagiye with whom they agreed that effective October 1, this year, 2000 refugees will be transported back to Burundi, weekly.
"We have agreed with Burundi that if the UNHCR and its partners will not be in position to implement the agreements, our two countries will go ahead to finance the transportation of refugees... we are determined to ensure that all Burundian refugees return to their home country as soon as possible," he stated.
He added: "Insecurity in their country was a big factor that forced them to find shelters in Tanzania but now the situation is calm.
The issue of voluntary return is out of context, they have to register for transport logistics to go back to Burundi." Mr Lugola (pictured) insisted that Tanzanian government observes international conventions on refugees and it will never forcibly return refugees to their war-torn country.
He censured reports bent on crippling the repatriation, saying some people gave misleading information on how Tanzania and Burundi supervised the exercise, with some threatening that peace was not yet installed in Burundi.
Minister Lugola directed the Immigration Department to arrest and take legal measures against illegal immigrants from Burundi, saying the Burundians, like nationals of other countries, have to follow legal procedures to enter Tanzania.
In separate occasions, addressing public rallies at Nduta and Mtendeli refugee camps, Minister Barandagiye said there was no viable reason for Burundians to continue living as refugees in Tanzania.
He assured them the country is now peaceful and the government has put in place a system to handle their problems, including those who had lost their lands in Burundi when seeking refuge in Tanzania.