Nduta (Tanzania): riots between the police and Burundian refugees

Nduta (Tanzania): riots between the police and Burundian refugees

Since last weekend, the police have been tracking down traders who reportedly run small businesses at home. Shops are also destroyed. The anger of refugees rose and they threw stones at the police. The UNHCR tried to calm the situation. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Zones 18, 19, 20 and 21 were particularly targeted. Police are searching for shop items believed to be sold in homes as all markets and stalls have been closed again.

The anger rose when police elements destroyed residential houses, serving as shops.

“They had just destroyed at least ten houses, including those inhabited by widows, for the simple reason that they found fruit, vegetables, sweets or even a fanta locker for sale. So we couldn’t sit idly by. Some of us threw stones at the police. The latter used tear gas to disperse us. There were injured people on both sides, but not serious”, said Burundian refugees.

The UNHCR intervened to calm the situation.

“Unsurprisingly, a UNHCR official came but he did not condemn these acts of destruction of houses that the UNHCR itself had built for refugees. He just told us not to throw stones at the police anymore and let them do their job and to avoid confrontations, which shows that the UNHCR is either powerless or complicit”, regret some Burundians.


Several refugees, especially young people, were arrested. They are in detention.

“We call on the UNHCR to denounce our persecution and to intervene so that our compatriots are released. We are really unhappy here in the camps in Tanzania”, add Burundian refugees.

Refugees believe that these are disguised maneuvers to force them to repatriate because, they point out, governments of Burundi and Tanzania have agreed that all refugees must return “willingly or by force”.

They ask the international community and the UNHCR-East Africa Division to intervene for the respect of conventions relating to the protection of refugees.

Nduta is a large Burundian refugee camp in Tanzania, with more than 76,000 people alone.

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