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10,000 Burundian Refugees Return From Tanzania


More Than 10,000 Burundian Refugees Return Home From Tanzania, UN Reports

More than 10,000 Burundian refugees have returned home from Tanzania in the first month and a half of this year, bound for destinations that include the previously insecure eastern Ruyigi province, the United Nations refugee agency said today.

The UN High Commission on Refugees (<"http://www.unhcr.ch/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home/+3wwBm-eMdm3wwwwSwwwwwwwhFqn N0bItFqnDni5zFqnN0bIAFqnN0bIDzmxwwwwwww1FqnN0bI/opendoc.htm">UNHCR) said nearly 5,200 of the refugees went by convoy through a new border crossing opened in late January at Gisuru, an area which facilitates their return to Ruyigi. UNHCR will soon re-open its office in the province.

UNHCR is doubling the number of weekly convoys along this route to four, with 1,000 refugees per convoy.

Refugees staying in camps in Tanzania's Ngara region have returned in twice-weekly convoys, totalling 1,000 persons a week, through another crossing-point, Kobero, in Burundi's north-eastern Muyinga province.

Refugees going to Burundi's Cankuzo province have used a third crossing-point at Gahumo, through which 500 people have passed this year, the agency said.

More than 300,000 Burundi refugees still live in camps in Tanzania, according to UNHCR, which said new opportunities for their return have opened since the Government and the main rebel group signed ceasefire and power-sharing agreements.

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