17,000 Burundi refugees in Tanzania

Over 17,000 refugees have fled from Burundi to Tanzania. Photo: Ssuuna/IRIN

Over 17,000 refugees have fled from Burundi to Tanzania.  An ‘extraordinary summit’ on the crisis is to take place in Dar next week. Photo: Ssuuna/IRIN

As the crisis in Burundi deepens and thousands of refugees stream into Tanzania, an ‘extraordinary summit’ of East African Community (EAC) leaders is scheduled take place in Dar es Salaam next week.

Tanzania’s Foreign Minister Bernard Membe says the meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 13.

Over 50,000 refugees have fled Burundi in recent weeks as fears of ethnic violence reignite in advance of elections.

Earlier this week, Home Affairs Ministry spokesman Isaac Nantanga put the number of Burundi refugees at over 4,000 while the UN Refugee Agency now says over 17,000 have reached Tanzania.

“So far there are no crime incidents reported and our security forces are fully awake to ensure everything goes as planned,” says Nantanga, adding that UN and government officials are working around the clock to handle the refugee cases.

“Those who have been verified are immediately moved to our Nyarugusu refugee camp in Kasulu.”

Violent protests erupted at the end of April after President Pierre Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel leader, sought a third term in power.

Opposition parties say Nkurunziza’s attempt at a third term violates peace accords signed at the end of the civil war in 2005.

Elections in Burundi are scheduled for June 26.

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