MUYINGA February 2nd (ABP) – Some 385 Burundians from Nakival camp in Uganda returned home on Monday January 31, 2022, with the facilitation of the High Commissariat for Refugees (UNHCR) and the European Union (EU) delegation in Burundi, in collaboration with the government of Burundi, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.
Those Burundian returnees, made up of 118 households, including 204 men and 181 women, were welcomed at the Kobero border post by the Director General of Repatriation and Reintegration of Returnees within the Ministry of the Interior, Development community and Public security, Mr. Nestor Bimenyimana, along with the governor of Muyinga province, the EU ambassador to Burundi, the UNHCR representative in Burundi, the resident coordinator of the United Nations system in Burundi and the OCHA representative.
They were taken to the Kinazi transit center to be registered, to be tested for Covid-19 and to be assisted with food and non-food items that can help them during the first three months. They have to spend a period of 48 hours there, if nothing changes, before returning to their communes of origin, as indicated by the director general in charge of repatriation.
Mr. Bimenyimana invited those returnees to get involved in safeguarding security, while pointing out to them that the living conditions are not really better in the countries of asylum compared to those in their country of origin. He then invited them to take advantage of the current growing season by getting about development work, in particular by practicing agriculture and livestock.
Alongside food and non-food assistance, returnees will also benefit from money via telephone transfer, which will help them initiate small development projects, added Mr. Bimenyimana, who urged them not to waste that assistance and to use the telephones which will be granted to them by communicating with our compatriots still in exile so that they too can return to their homeland.
The director general in charge of repatriation advised repatriated parents to reintegrate their children into school and enroll children of school age. He did not forget to remind them to respect the barrier measures of protection and prevention against the Covid-19 pandemic. He ended his remarks by warmly thanking all the personalities that were present in those welcoming ceremonies for returnees, an eloquent sign testifying that the government and its partners are very sensitive to the return of refugees. He said that the government of Burundi appreciates the work of media professionals while asking them to continue to sensitize those who are still in exile so that they can return to their native country.
The governor of Muyinga province, Mr. Jean Claude Barutwanayo, corroborated the message of the director general in charge of the reintegration of returnees, while inviting them to take advantage of the peace and security that reigns in the country by working hard, for every mouth to have something to eat and every pocket money as desired by the President of the Republic, Mr. Evariste Ndayishimiye.
“Nowhere is better than home,” said UNHCR representative in Burundi, Mr. Abdul Karim Ghoul, before pointing out that returnees also have a responsibility to participate in efforts that the government, UNHCR, NGOs and especially donors, are doing to help support reintegration. He thanked the EU Ambassador to Burundi for supporting the return of these Burundians, the United Nations agencies as well as the government of Burundi, through the Ministry in charge of Public Security, which is responsible for the return of refugees.
“Peace and security are the conditions for the return of refugees,” said the resident coordinator of the United Nations system in Burundi, Mr. Damien Mama who, after congratulating the returnees for that good decision to return home, thanked European countries, across the EU as a whole, for supporting this tremendous effort to return refugees to their homeland.
A certain Jean de Dieu Nzeyimana, 25 years old and from Vumbi commune in Kirundo province, with two children born in exile, told the press that he is happy to see himself back in his native country. As for the problems encountered in exile, he cited in particular the lack of water, the insufficient quantity of food as well as the high cost of education in Uganda which leads to the non-schooling of refugee children because of the lack of means. Thus, he called on those who are still in exile to return to their fatherland.
Mrs. Régine Butoyi, who had just spent 4 years in Uganda, was delighted with the warm welcome they received from the Kobero border post to the Kinazi transit center. That is why she asked her brothers and sisters still in exile to return to their country of origin.