Zim Government To Deport Burundi Refugees

The refugees are in a remand prison in Harare awaiting deportation to Burundi where they fear for their lives.

Despite fears that the refugees’ lives could be in danger if they are forcibly repatriated, the Zimbabwean government has vowed not to reverse their decision.

It is not allowed in terms of international law to return a refugee by force to a country he would have fled fearing persecution.

Paurina Mpariwa, the Minister of Labour and Social Services, said she had already signed the necessary documentation and the refugees would be deported from Zimbabwe any time.

“We are not going to allow then back at the camp we have to deport them to their countries of origin,” Mpariwa said. “We want to set an example.”

Officials from the The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Harare said they would fight to save the refugees from being returned to Bujumbura.

The UNHCR oficals said the refugees were better off being resettled in countries neighbouring Zimbabwe.

The Burundians caused commotion at Tongogara Refugee Camp when they went on a rampage beating up fellow refugees from Rwanda accusing them of misrepresenting their identities to Zimbabwean authorities.

The Rwandans were accused of lying that they were from Burundi in a bid to conceal their true identities.

This irked the Burundians resulting in the tension at the camp and the subsequent violence. The Burundians were arrested and detained in custody.

After deliberations the Zimbabwean government decided to expel the refugees. Although Burundi has a power sharing government between the Tutsi and Hutu ethnic groups there is tension.

There are reports that bandits, unimpressed by the power sharing deal occasionally shell Bujumbura from their hideouits in the outskirts of the capital.