Refugees from Burundi who fled to Rwanda owing to political pressure were yesterday repatriated. However, another cohort refused to go back home.
The group who were willing to return to their home country were shuttled by Rwanda’a buses from Mahama Refugee camp based in Kirehe Distric to Burunsian territory, Nemba one stop border post situated in Bugesera district.In an interview with The New Times, one of the escapees, Mukamusoni, expressed her gratitude to return to her ancestral land.
“Five years are many when you are away from your country. I miss everyone at my home country and I’m optimistic to start a new life, work and feed my family as any other citizen,” she said.
Addressing to the press, Olivier Kayumba, Permanent secretary in Minema said that Rwanda is devoted to helping Burundians to go back.“There are some of Burundian refugees who requested to be repatriated and we acted accordingly. In accordance with national and international laws, Rwanda will continue to facilitate any refugee willing to go back to his/her country of origin and protect those who wish to stay,” he said.
President Evariste Ndayishimiye of Burundi tweeted a warm welcoming message to the repatriated Burundians.
“We welcome fellow Burundians who are being repatriated from Mahama. It is a joy to their families and Burundi. We call on even others willing to return home.”
Despite the bilateral efforts to repatriate Burundian fugitives some expressed reluctance to return home as quoted from Igihe.
“I ran away from being persecuted by the television and it didn’t end there. In 2014, my house was burned to the ground, when I found new a place to live, they would come and spy on me at night and decided to run away,”Niyonzima Prudence said , adding that he will return to Burundi if security is assured.
“Some are still dying; others are still being persecuted. I will
go back when I hear that no one is being persecuted, no one is being killed, no
one is disappearing,” he concluded.
Back in mid-March 2020 , when Rwanda closed its borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, 5,922 refugees had already voluntarily returned to Burundi.