After moving 10,000 refugees inland, UN to close two border camps in Burundi

21 February 2003

Following the transfer of more than 10, 000 Congolese refugees to a safer inland camp in Burundi, the United Nations is set to close two temporary border sites in the western part of that country where they were previously sheltered.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced today that the sites at Rugombo and Gatumba would be closed over the next weeks. The Congolese settled at the two camps after fleeing fighting between two rebel movements in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) south Kivu region.

“We have transferred all the Congolese refugees there to the new camp. This site will be closed as soon as nearly 600 Burundian returnees who came back from south Kivu following the conflict in October are re-integrated in their home districts,” UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in Geneva, referring to Gatumba. “We are talking with government authorities about their re-integration.”

The new camp, which now has some 5,746 Congolese refugees transferred from the two border sites, is in the north-western province of Cibitoke, some 40 kilometres from the border between Burundi and the DRC.

Meanwhile, some spontaneous returns to the south Kivu region continue, UNHCR said. In the last few weeks, nearly 500 Congolese have returned to the Uvira area, which is relatively calm.

 

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