March 11, 2019

Rwandans Going to Burundi Drop by 70% From Pre-2015 Numbers

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Members of a religious sect of Burundian refugees are transported to border by Rwanda after they refused immunization and other services in Rwanda claiming they have God’s protection and needed no worldly things

The number of Rwandans crossing border to Burundi is down to less than 30 for fear of being arrested, government data show.

Lt Col Regis Gatarayiha, the Director General of Emigration and Immigration Directorate said at the ongoing Government retreat that the number was down by 70 percent.

Following a failed coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza in May 2015, a campaign has been ongoing targeting Rwandans. Many have been arrested.

Rwandan buses ferrying business people and ordinary travelers – only Burundians, stop at border, and walk to to other side where they board Burundian buses.

No single vehicle with Rwandan number plates crosses to Burundi. However, dozens of Burundian vehicles cross daily to Rwanda.

According to Local Government Minister Prof Anastase Shyaka, even that 30% still going to Burundi are Rwandans living in communities along the common border who cross to visit families and friends.

A Rwandan businessman former ambassador Jacques Bihozagara was arrested in December 2015. He died in a Burundian jail. His body was handed to Rwanda, but no explanation was ever given.

Despite Rwandans not going to Burundi, more than 500 Burundians – not refugees, come to Rwanda every day, as par Immigration office data. These include business people, government officials and ordinary travelers visiting.

As for vehicles, more than 40 cross into Rwanda daily, some on routine travel.

There are still more than 70,000 Burundian refugees in Rwanda living in the Mahama camp in eastern province. This number does not include thousands others living among Rwandan communities and working nearly in all sectors except government.

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