230,000 Burundi Refugees Flee Country Over Conflict

According to ABC Online news, violence in the African nation of Burundi has led to a refugee crisis in surrounding countries, including Tanzania, where camps have become overcrowded. This politically induced conflict has been on since April 2015, when the constitutional court controversially granted Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to run for a 3rd tenure, after serving as president for almost 10 years in a row. In 2015 alone, there were over 100 deaths and over 150, 000 citizens emigrating from Burundi.

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Burundi is in a total state chaos as number of emigrating refugees increase side by side with the conflict of 2015 April presidential election verdict that has lingered on for months. In December 2015, The African Union had proposed to foster a peacekeeping mission in the country but national government rejected their offer, terming it an “invasion force”.

As all international and local means to address the distressing situation proved futile, a rebellious group, ‘Forebu’ (Republican Forces of Burundi) have taken the deposing of the Pierre Nkurunziza as their sole mission. In all the entire upheaval is breeding possibilities of an imminent civil war.


At the moment, over 400 people have lost their lives and about 230, 000 citizens and much more are fleeing their abodes to find solace in neighboring countries like Rwanda and Tanzania. As usual women and children are the most sensitive victims – report has it that there have cases of rape and abuse of women in Burundi at this time.

Joyce Mends-Cole who works with UNHCR- United Nation’s High Commissioner For Refugees- says the Nyarugusu camp in Tanzania, originally made for Congolese refugees is currently over-populated. She says the normal number range of 60,000 – 63,000 people has increased to 150,000 – 160,000 persons. Due to lack of resources, the decongestion of the camp in their care has not been a feasible task.

Empathic Joyce says “we should be looking at refugee situations with really an idea that the world needs peace and development.” Unfortunately, presidents like Pierre Nkurunziza and his cohorts do not think so. Rather than tow the line of presidents who are endorsing the presidential term reduction in their constitutions, Pierre is better off the ruler of a ravaging nation, whereas he can effortlessly stop it by giving up the presidential seat for the interest of peace.

More international peace talks are scheduled for the year to address the issue but so far, there doesn’t seem to be any visible light at the end of the tunnel.

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