Rwanda has decided will immediately relocate Burundian refugees to other countries and put to an end accusations that the country is arming refugees to revolt against their brutal government.
Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said Thursday evening that, “For Rwanda, the growing risks to our national security from the Burundian impasse and misunderstandings in our foreign relations are unacceptable.”
The decision comes a day after th United States also accused Rwanda of trying to destabilise Burundi by recruiting refugees for armed attacks on their government.
Thomas Perriello, US envoy for the Great Lakes region of Africa, said “There are credible reports of recruitment of Burundian refugees out of camps in Rwanda to participate in armed attacks by Burundian armed opposition against the Burundian government.”
Mushikiwabo said the callous indifference to the well known root causes of instability in Burundi, and the refugee exodus is troubling.
Therefore, Rwanda has decided the political mismanagement and international politicking at Rwanda’s expense, ‘too high’.
She also said Rwanda readily shoulders its obligations to protect and care for Burundian refugees, however, experience in the Great Lakes is that the long-term presence of refugees so close to their country of origin carries considerable risks for all involved.
“It exposes refugees to increased threats from forces at home and compromises lasting political solutions,” Mushikiwabo said.
In recent months, Rwanda has made requests to international partners and organisations to host Burundians living in camps and in towns in Rwanda.
No party has come forward yet, even as the political situation in the refugees’ country of origin shows no improvement.
This year alone, Rwanda had already budgeted to spend almost $100m on over 100,000 Burundian refugees settled in different camps on its soil.
Aproximately 400 people have died. Reports say over 230,000 have fled the country.