Dodoma – The UN refugee agency has started repatriating hundreds of Burundian refugees back home from neighbouring Tanzania.
Emmanuel Maganga, government commissioner for the Kigoma region in northwestern Tanzania, said 300 refugees returned home on Thursday using public transport.
At least 12 000 Burundian refugees have signed up for voluntary repatriation. Maganga said the initial agreement with the UN officials says 300 Burundians will be repatriated every week.
More than 240 000 Burundian refugees are sheltering in Tanzania. Most of them fled political violence in 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to seek a disputed third term that he ultimately won.
Tanzania’s government has been putting pressure on UNHCR to facilitate the repatriation of those refugees who want to return home.
Burundi’s government says the country is now peaceful.