Tanzania Agrees to Return Burundi Refugees Home, Minister Says

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(Bloomberg) -- Tanzania agreed to repatriate Burundian refugees who have been sheltering in two major settlements, the Burundian Interior Minister Pascal Barandagiye told the national broadcaster.

Tanzania estimates it has more than 220,000 Burundian refugees who fled from its northwestern neighbor during a political crisis that began in 2015.

“There is no reason for refugees to stay in Tanzania” while their home country is at peace, Barandagiye told Burundi’s national broadcaster. Repatriations will start in early October and will seek to move 2,000 people weekly, he said.

Barandagiye urged the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to allow Burundians to return home. The agency has in the past said that the two East African nations should respect refugee rights by not forcing repatriations.

The UNHCR regional spokeswoman Dana Hughes did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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