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Tanzania: It’s ‘Home, Sweet Home’ for Returning Burundi Refugees

SOME seven hundred refugees from Burundi who have volunteered to return home are expected to depart this week, the second such ‘home going’ after the first batch which left Tanzania on September 7, 2017.

According to an assistant director in the department of refugees in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Deusdedit Masusu, two batches of 350 refugees each — out of 13,000 who have since registered to return home — will depart tomorrow (12 September) and Thursday (14 September) this week.

“During this month (of September) … in our plan … we’ve scheduled seven repatriation trips each with an average of 350 refugees: on the 7th, 12th, 14th, 19th, 21st, 26th and 28th,” says Mr Masusu, adding that more refugees were expected to join the forthcoming trips.

Mr Masusu said over the weekend that some 13,000 refugees have registered to return home by this September 7, and the ministry expects that more would volunteer following a smooth start of repatriations.

“By the end of September, we are certain that those who are now hesitating to register will do so … because they will find it necessary to go back home after receiving positive feedback from returnees,” he noted.

He added that all what parties were now out to ensure, the repatriations were conducted in line with procedures set out in the tripartite agreements to ensure safety and dignity to the returning refugees.

“What our governments (Tanzania and Burundi) and our partners want, is to do it properly … as a way to help these refugees go home and settle … that will serve as an incentive for others to come forward and register,” Mr Masusu added.

Voluntary repatriations of registered Burundi refugees is taking place following a recent agreement signed during the 19th Tripartite Commission Meeting held in Dar es Salaam on 31 August 2017 between Tanzania, Burundi and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

Currently there are 276, 692 Burundian refugees on record within Tanzania, out of whom 242, 340 entered the country after April 2015 following political unrest within Burundi.

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