Government of Uganda with support from the United Nations High Commission for
Refugees-UNHCR has officially started the repatriation of over 2000 Burundi
refugees from Nakivale resettlement Camp in Isingiro District.
The State for Relief, Disaster
Preparedness and Refugees in the Office of Prime Minister, Esther Davinia
Anyakun officials flagged off the repatriation of 350 refugees on Sunday. These join
another batch of 256 Burundian nationals who left in December last week and another
batch of 231 that left last year.
While flagging off the repatriation Anyakun said
that Voluntary repatriation is the best-case scenario for people who left
their homes or country in search of peace, safety and security. She said that to
ensure peace, safety and security to the refugees in the host communities the
Government has initiated the Development Response to Displacement Impact Project-DRDIP,
which aims at improving their livelihoods.
She said that the project has helped the Burundi
refugees to acquire skills in carpentry, bricklaying, metal fabrication and tailoring
among others that will help them to rebuild their lives back home.
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Polyine Irene Abinna, the acting Refugee desk
officer office in the Prime minister in charge of the southwestern region,
described the repatriation as a milestone to the host community, home
governments and the refugee since it is a symbol of peace.
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Godfrey Byaruhanga, the Senior Field Coordinator
department of refugees, says that the COVID-19 pandemic breakout forcing countries to
close their borders delayed the repatriation that should have taken place last
He, however, says that Uganda engaged the Tanzanian government,
which allowed the refugees to travel by road after relaxing the COVID-19
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Wesley Itereteka, who spent six years in Uganda,
welcomed their repatriation and the government of Burundi for creating a
peaceful environment that has allowed them to return home.
Abubakar Mbazimuti, who has been in Uganda for two
years explained that he did not find problems settling in Uganda. His only
problem came when it came to learning where lessons are conducted in English yet
in Burundi their use French.
Uganda hosts over 1.4 million refugees from different
countries in the Great Lakes Region such as South Sudan, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Eritrea among
According to statistics from the UNHCR, Uganda is home to about 51,000
Burundian refugees. At least 40,535 of these are in Nakivale refugee
resettlement camp, which hosts 145227 refugees.