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Burundi asks refugees to return home

Kampala: The Burundian government has started a regional campaign to ask the country`s refugees to voluntarily return home despite tension in the east African country, a media report said.

Government officials on Tuesday started their campaign in Uganda, the host for over 45,000 Burundian refugees, who have fled violence at home since May 2015, Xinhua news agency reported.

"The government has made efforts to restore peace and deal with development now. We want the refugees to return home to contribute to our country`s development," Burundian Home Affairs Minister Pascal Barandagiye told reporters after meeting Ugandan government officials.

Hillary Onek, Uganda`s Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Refugees and Relief, said the campaign should be supported.

"We are sure the situation in Burundi is improving. We encourage the refugees to return home voluntarily. We warn those who might misguide people from not going back," said Onek.

A Burundi government team will visit the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Isingiro where a few refugees will be taken home to study the situation in their home country and report it to other refugees.

The team will also visit neighbouring the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Tanzania for the same mission.

At least 327,000 Burundi refugees fled to these countries since violence broke out in capital Bujumbura. 

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