DRC / Repatriation: Thirty angry Burundian asylum seekers threaten to return

37 asylum seekers from the Kavinvira transit camp in Uvira in the province of South Kivu, eastern DRC are demanding the release of a fellow citizen arrested and imprisoned by the police on Monday night. Out of solidarity and as a means of pressure, these asylum seekers are threatening to return to the country without going through normal procedures.

According to information gathered on the spot, this asylum seeker was arrested after brutalizing a guard. He is accused of having used violence and acted while drunk. “He was drunk and started beating a camp employee. And if these asylum seekers want to return, they will be considered as voluntary repatriates, that is done”, indicates one of the leaders of this transit camp interviewed.

The source of the disagreements between the representatives of the National Commission for Refugees (CNR) and these angry asylum seekers would be the fact of demanding information on the place and conditions of detention of their fellow citizen.

Fearing reprisals, these 37 Burundian asylum seekers have already left the Kavimvira transit camp. They took the road to the Burundian border.

“The police arrested our brother at night and we don’t know why. Here in Congo when you are arrested, the release is for a certain amount of money and we have nothing,” said these asylum seekers. “It’s a way to neutralize our leader so that our demands are ignored and our rights violated,” they added.

For the CNR, it is a group of Burundians who want to sow disorder in this transit camp. Jules Manda, assistant in charge of protection at the CNR, said that the rest of the refugees and other asylum seekers are calm and patiently waiting for the day scheduled for their repatriation and according to the established program.

Recall that nearly 250 Burundian refugees established in 71 families were repatriated this Monday, May 30 under the supervision of the UNHCR and the CNR and the Congolese government. They all came from the Mulongwe site in Fizi territory. The director general in charge of repatriation confirms their arrival via the Gatumba border post.

Most of these returnees say they fear for their safety. “Hostilities between different communities and between different armed groups can arise at any time. According to these Burundian refugees, the situation prevailing in the territory of Fizi does not reassure them.

Source: IWACU Burundi

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