On Thursday, 471 Burundian refugees boarded buses from their Mahama camp in Kirehe district, Eastern Rwanda to return home after 5 years.
Facilitated by the government of Rwanda and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, this is the first batch that repatriates at such a big number.
This follows a letter that they addressed to their government – Burundi mid this month, asking for dignified repatriation.
Rwanda also committed to facilitating the refugees’ exit.
Departing Burundian refugees were tested for COVID-19 before boarding and sitting in accordance to Rwanda’s measures in the fight against COVID-19 spread.
The fleet will use Nemba border in Bugesera, Eastern Province.
Some refugees who spoke to Kigalitoday.com, our sister website commended the hospitality they enjoyed while in Rwanda.
There are an estimated 72,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda, of which 50,000 live in Mahama camp.
Majority of the refugees fled the country following the political crisis that gripped Burundi in 2015 when the then President, the late Pierre Nkurunziza decided to seek a third term, leading to countrywide protests as people opposed the move.