Return of repatriated Burundians to the Mahama refugee camp

This article is written with the aim of mobilizing and raising awareness among those concerned to analyze and interpret the security situation in Burundi before taking the decision to repatriate voluntarily.

Remember that returning voluntarily or not remains an indisputable right of refugees. But unfortunately, some of the Mahama Refugees have made a decision to repatriate without assessing the dreadful impacts linked to the security risks in Burundi.

The movement of return and reception of returnees in a refugee camp in Mahama was observed for the first time on October 14, 2022. The caravan was made up of 32 people gathered in 6 families.

“The Eagle party has made life unbearable against the Returnees and the living conditions in Burundi would be almost hellish,” said some of the people recently returned and hosted in a Mahama Refugee Camp.

The UNHCR working in a refugee camp in Mahama and through its partner ADRAA distributed to those concerned food and essential materials to help them survive.

In addition, a movement of Burundians returned after having been voluntarily repatriated is observed in the surrounding sectors of the Refugee Camp, particularly in the Nyamugari sector and the Mahama sector. These Burundians lead an independent life, the reason is that they do not have the right to the services offered by UNHCR and its partners and they also do not have the right to join the Camp and settle there.

“We do not know the requirements and the procedures we should use so that we can be welcomed and reintegrated as Refugees from the Mahama Camp” said some of the Burundians who returned and stayed in the surrounding communities.

“Several days for the Thief and one day for the Owner,” said some of the Veteran Refugees in the Mahama camp.
The Burundian authorities have always used tricks and false tricks to convince international opinion, claiming that calm reigns in the territory of Burundi. But in reality, these Burundian authorities were looking for international support that could lead them to the closure of the Camps and the forced repatriation of Burundian Refugees.

″We know what is being done in Burundi, we are aware every day of the targeted assassinations, human rights violations and enforced disappearances that are reported in our country‶ indicated the Representatives of the Executive Committee of Refugees during a meeting held for Refugees. It was on this same occasion that the Representatives of the Executive Committee of Refugees warned Burundian Refugees not to risk their lives in Burundi through this voluntary and anticipated repatriation.

« The man does not die but he kills himself » said the Burkinabe Elders. It should be noted that approximately 1,000 Burundian refugees had to be removed from the lists of candidates for voluntary repatriation, after having been informed of the tragic and bloody orchestras that are taking place in Burundi.