Rwanda: More Burundi Refugees Leave Rwanda for Home

(file photo).

The third cohort of Burundian refugees in Rwanda began their journey back home on Thursday as more continue to register for repatriation citing sustained peace in Burundi.

The 511 refugees will be hosted at the Songore transit camp in Burundi, a two-hour drive from the Nemba border, where they will stay for three days. They will then be reintegrated in Kirundo, Burundi's northern border province with Rwanda.

The group is the third to be repatriated since August 27, bringing the total number of returnees to about 2,000.

The repatriations began following a meeting between intelligence chiefs of the two neighbour countries last month, signaling a thawing of relations.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, more than 6,500 refugees in Mahama Camp - the largest Burundi refugees settlement in Rwanda with up to 60,000 - have so far signed up to go back home.

As more register to leave, the UNHCR estimates that it needs up to $1.5 million to assist in the repatriation this year.

The agency in collaboration with Rwandan and Burundian authorities plans to repatriate at least 500 refugees every week. UNHCR also plans to construct a bigger transit centre in Burundi, close to the Rwandan border.

Those who choose to return home are given a cash grant of $75 per adult and $35 per child, food rations, and basic home utensils. They also receive medical care including Covid-19 testing.

From the region, over 89,000 refugees have been assisted to return to Burundi since 2017, the majority of whom are from Tanzania, which has been home to over 130,000 Burundian refugees. Other returnees were from Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tens of thousands of Burundians fled to neighbouring countries following election violence in 2015.

AllAfrica publishes around 500 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.