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Over 32,000 Burundi refugees have
returned from Tanzania: UNHCR   

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- At least 32,345 Burundian refugees have returned home from refugee camps in Tanzania since a meeting on repatriating Burundian refugees, an official of UNHCR in Burundi said Tuesday.

After the meeting that brought together officials from Burundi, Tanzania and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) at the end of March, some 32,345 Burundian refugees have by now returned to their villages from Tanzanian refugee camps, said Gogo Hukportie, representative of UNHCR in Burundi.

The reintegration of returnees in their home villages is being done normally and other UN agencies such as the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Children’s Fund are supporting the reintegration process, said Hukportie at a press conference organized in the context of the World Refugee Day, which will be celebrated on Wednesday in Kavumu refugee camp in Cankuzo province, eastern Burundi.

Hukportie indicated that the number of Burundian refugees currently living in exile in the Great Lakes region notably in Tanzania, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) and Uganda is estimated at 340,000.

“On top of more than 310,000 Burundian people who fled the country’s 2015 crisis, there were others estimated around 30,000 who had fled the 1972 crisis. Tanzania alone hosts about 240,000 Burundian refugees,” said Hukportie.

Burundi plunged into a crisis in 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial third term. His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups, resulted in a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup on May 13, 2015.

More than 400,000 refugees and asylum-seekers have fled Burundi since the outbreak of violence.



Grenade explosion kills one, injures six in northwestern Burundi

BUJUMBURA Burundi  (Xinhua) -- Unidentified persons Tuesday night blasted a grenade in a house in Cibitoke province, northwestern Burundi, killing one person and injuring six others, a local official told Xinhua on Wednesday.

At 7:49 p.m. local time, unknown people broke into a house at Murwi village in Murwi district, exploding a grenade in the dining room where the house occupants were eating their dinner, said Salvator Niyobuhungiro, adviser of the Murwi district administrator.

A 13-year-old girl died on the spot and six others were injured, said Niyobuhungiro.

According to him, five persons were seriously injured and were evacuated to hospital.

When people came to rescue the victims, the attackers had already run away, Niyobuhungiro added.

Three suspects have been arrested for further investigations, he said, adding that land conflicts are suspected to be at the origin of the grenade explosion.

Another grenade attack happened Tuesday night at a neighborhood in northern Bujumbura, capital city of Burundi, but did not cause casualties, spokesman of the security ministry Pierre Nkurikiye said Wednesday.


Grenade explosion in central Burundi kills one, injures 21: official

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- An unidentified person Sunday night blasted a grenade in a crowd in front of a shop at Birohe village in Gitega province, central Burundi, killing one person and injuring 21 others, the governor of Gitega said Monday.

The attacker took advantage of obscurity as it was the night fall at about 7:10 p.m. local time when he blasted the grenade, said Venant Manirambona in a telephone interview with Xinhua.

“A woman selling small objects and aged about 60 years was killed on the spot. 21 persons were injured and six of them were seriously injured and evacuated to hospital,” said Manirambona.

The attacker might have been targeting one person who was in the crowd, said the governor, who described the explosion as “terrorism.”

He also denied any link with political motivations behind the explosion.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza last Thursday signed and promulgated the new constitution in the province. After that he announced that he will leave the presidency in 2020 at the expiry of his current presidential term.

Burundi’s new constitution extends the presidential term from five to seven years and allows the president to serve two consecutive terms, which means Nkurunziza is allowed to stay in office until 2034 if he is elected in future presidential elections.

Burundi plunged into a crisis in April 2015 when Nkurunziza decided to run his controversial bid for a third term. His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition, resulted in a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup in May 2015.

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