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Burundi/Tanzania: border area mined

Briefing notes

Burundi/Tanzania: border area mined

24 March 2000

Burundian refugees arriving in Tanzania report that the border area is mined. This could explain why the number of new arrivals has significantly dropped. Since the beginning of the month, 3,000 Burundis have arrived in Tanzania, down from 22,000 last month.

Newly arriving refugees report ongoing military operations along the border. They say civilians are forced to flee their villages as government soldiers conduct nightly patrols and systematically search and destroy houses, looking for rebels. Many people are scattered in the forest but they do not dare cross the border because the main entry points to Tanzania have been mined and are heavily guarded by soldiers. Rebels who used to guide civilians across the border have now withdrawn.

Tanzania is hosting 450,000 refugees: 350,000 from Burundi and 100,000 from the Democratic Republic of Congo.