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Archive for August 26th, 2007

UNHCR to repatriate 60,000 Burundi refugees

Posted by African Press International on August 26, 2007

Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Thursday in Dar es Salaam expressed satisfaction on the ongoing exercise of voluntary repatriation of refugees to Burundi.

The UN agency said it was expected to help 60,000 Burundi refugees return home through the voluntary exercise.

According to UNHCR country representative, Yacoub El Hillo, since the beginning of 2007 the number of refugees in the country has dropped from 287,000 to 255,000.

El Hillo told APA in an interview that the number of Burundis involved in the voluntary repatriation reached 13,539, and that 9,996 of these returned to Burundi voluntarily after being issued US$50 grants by his agency.

Apart from the US$50 given to each returning family, which is converted into Burundi currency, the UNHCR package for the returnees included food for six months to every person voluntarily returning home.

This, he said, was a deliberate move to encourage them to leave.

As of 21 August, the number of those involved in voluntary repatriation had reached 13,539 returnees, he added.

There were 11 refugee camps in Tanzania. Two have been closed down, while others have merged, with the third expected to be closed in early September, El Hillo said.

Tanzania now hosts 142,086 Burundian refugees; 109,429 Congolese; 1,353 Somalis and 2,714 of mixed nationalities.

The repatriation exercise is expected to cost US$3 million, he said.

Published by Korir, API*APN africanpress@chello.no tel+47 932 or+47 63 source.apa

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