Burundi asks refugees to return home

KAMPALA, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Burundian government has started a regional campaign to ask the country's refugees to voluntarily return home despite tension in the east African country.

Government officials on Tuesday started their campaign in Uganda, the host for over 45,000 Burundian refugees who have fled violence at home since May 2015.

"The government has made efforts to restore peace and deal with development now. We want the refugees to return home to contribute to our country's development," Pascal Barandagiye, Burundian home affairs and civic education minister, told reporters after meeting Ugandan government officials.

Hillary Onek, Uganda's minister for disaster preparedness, refugees and relief, said the campaign should be supported.

"We are sure the situation in Burundi is improving. We encourage the refugees to return home voluntarily. We warn those who might misguide people from not going back," said Onek.

The Burundi government team will visit the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in the western district of Isingiro where a few refugees will be taken home to study the situation in their home country and report it to other refugees.

The team will also visit neighboring the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and Tanzania for the same mission.

At least 327,000 Burundi refugees have fled to the DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia since violence broke out in capital Bujumbura.

[ Editor:yfs001]