Uganda to repatriate thousands of Burundi refugees

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Uganda will be repatriating at least 46,000 refugees from Burundi due to a request by the government of Burundi, who insist that the country is safe following months of civil unrest, according to a report by DW.

Nakival refugee camp in western Uganda is home to over 45,000, who are among the 200,000 Burundians who have fled the civil unrest in their country.

The Minister for Disaster Preparedness in Uganda, Hillary Onek said that the refugees that refuse to return home will be given a three month extension but will have to leave Uganda after that.

“You are given a visa to stay here for three months and if your visa is expired, we shall not do it like Trump but we shall advise them quietly to go back,” the Minister said. “We shall expect them to go back after the peaceful resolution.”

Burundi government is on a campaign to get their citizens living in refuge in neighboring East African countries; Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo to return home.

“If Burundi is peaceful as we know it and they have finished the agreement in Arusha, then those who want to continue here as refugees shall be turned over to immigration,” said Onek.

Burundi’s call for refugees to return home comes at a time when peace talks which are scheduled to run from February 16 to 18 in Arusha, Tanzania are bound to beginning, however the Burundian government has refused to send representatives to the talks.

“We know even now that there are some people there in the camp who want to come back home,” urundi’s Minister for Home Affairs Pascal Barandagiye said while visiting Uganda”For those who are in Tanzania we are also planning to go there. We will convince them to come back.”

The Burundian crisis began in April 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to seek a controversial third five-year term.