Since last Saturday, Burundian refugees in Nyarugusu camp have been ordered to destroy all crop fields, except those of vegetables. The order was given by officials from the areas in the camp.
The latter claim that it is a measure taken by the high authorities of the country. The measure was recently taken in another camp sheltering Burundians. Refugees see it as a way of forcing them to return to their country.
The refugees learned of the measure last Saturday. It was after a meeting that took place in the camp between the heads of zones and the refugees.
“The heads of zones brought us together urgently. Very angry, they told us that they had just received the order to uproot all crops except vegetables. They explained that the order came from the president of the camp who is at the same time a representative of the Tanzanian government ”, recount refugees who took part in the meeting.
And to continue: “They ordered us to destroy our fields ourselves, failing which, the police would come and take care of it. They also let it be known that the recalcitrant expose themselves to sanctions up to the withdrawal of refugee status ”.
Refugees explained that small fruit, corn and bean plantations around their homes have been destroyed.
They denounce a measure that deprives them of a balanced diet and the fight against malnutrition, especially among children.
Such a measure was recently taken in Nduta camp, another Burundian refugee camp. It was maintained despite the contestation of the concerned.
A measure that targets only Burundians.
According to our sources, only the fields of Burundians are targeted.
“You see next to us, the fields of Congolese refugees are green. The owners don’t worry. We asked why the measure only concerns the Burundians, we were told that it is because the Congolese are not concerned by the repatriation in progress ”, confide desperately refugees whose fields have been destroyed.
They intend to take legal action against “untimely measures aimed at forcing them to return to Burundi”, if they find means or support.
Nyarugusu camp still hosts more than 57,000 Burundian and Congolese refugees.
Burundians who have settled there fled the 2015 crisis triggered by another controversial term of office of the late President Pierre Nkurunziza.