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Burundi Refugees Fleeing Forced Recruitment

Burundian refugees fleeing into Uganda says they are fleeing forced recruitment into the Imbonerakure militia.
Refugees fleeing the violence in the Burundi say they are fleeing from the forced recruitment into the Imbonerakure militia.

Many refugees are arriving in Uganda through Kisoro and Kabale, headed for the Nyakabande reception centre in Kisoro district.

3-15 refugees arrive at Nyakabande refugees reception centre daily.

Jean Claude Nibigira, one of the refugees that have arrived from Burundi to Nyakabande says government agents in Burundi are forcing the youth to join the Imbonerakure militia.

Another refugee who only identified himself as Nzabamwita told Uganda Radio Network that the refugees who are from the Hutu tribe are not comfortable being hosted in Rwanda, thus proceeding to Uganda.

Nyakabande deputy camp commandant, Fred Matisko says the refugees are coming from places like Kirundo, Bujumbura and Kibitooke in Burundi.

Other Rwandan refugees in their hundreds are reportedly going directly to Nakivale through Mirama Hills.

Refugees received from are then relocated to Rwamwanja, Kiryandongo, Kyangwali and Nakivale settlement camps by the Office of the Prime Minister.

Mastiko says that he has also received reports from the refugees concerning forced recruitment into the Imbonerakure militia.

Imbonerakure means “those who see far” in the Kurundi language.

The group arose in 2010 out of disarmed fighters from the ruling party\'s previous incarnation as a rebel group who never fully demobilized.

Leading Burundian peace activist, Jean Claude Nkundwa said years spent fighting in the bush made youths joining Imbonerakure vulnerable to exploitation by politicians. 

The Imbonerakure has some 50,000 members across the country, according to Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, Burundi\'s human rights activist, who spent months in custody last year and still faces a charge of endangering state security after publicly stating that the Imbonerakure were receiving military training in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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