Africa 21.7.2017 12:00 pm

Burundi President Nkurunziza calls on refugees to return home

AFP/File / Landry Nshimiye<br />Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has been a divisive figure whose bid for a third term sparked months of often violent protests

AFP/File / Landry Nshimiye
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has been a divisive figure whose bid for a third term sparked months of often violent protests

Burundi President Nkurunziza further said there was now an urgent need to build Burundi.

During his one-day state visit to western Tanzania, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza called on refugees from his country to return home, where peace and stability was prevailing.

“Burundi has gained peace and stability,” Nkurunziza told refugees during his visit in Ngara district in the Kagera province, on Thursday.

He said there was now an urgent need to build Burundi.

“We call on all the refugees, our sisters and brothers who fled here to Tanzania, to return in Burundi so that we build together our nation,” he said.

Nkurunziza said he was happy that thousands of his countrymen who had sought refuge in Tanzania had declared their willingness to return without any help from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Addressing Tanzanian citizens and Burundian refugees, Tanzania President John Magufili revealed that his country had already given nationality to 200 Burundi nationals.

“We have to stop this because it may be like a pretext for many Burundians to flee their country,” Magufili said.

“We will not force you to go back to Burundi … only those who are willing can go back.”

The two heads of state also spoke of economic cooperation between their countries. Statistics show that in 2016 trade between the two countries was 116.5 billion shilling.

As part of the economic cooperation, Tanzania has begun building a railroad which would link Burundi and Rwanda.

This was Nkurunziza’s first visit outside his country since the failed coup of May 2015.

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