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Tanzania: UNHCR concern at mine accounts

Briefing notes

Tanzania: UNHCR concern at mine accounts

28 April 2000

Despite renewed clashes in several Burundi provinces, the number of refugees reaching Tanzania continues to decline, with new arrivals citing land mines, military activity near the border and rising rivers as reasons for the drop-off.

From a figure of 23,000 arrivals in January, the monthly total has dropped to 5,800 in February and 4,600 in March. Through Thursday, 27 April, only 1,126 Burundi refugees had crossed during this month.

UNHCR is concerned at refugee accounts of the use of mines as well as reports of civilians being caught between rebel forces and recent military reprisals in Eastern Ruyigi and Makamba Provinces.

April has also seen an unchanged number of Congolese refugees crossing Lake Tanganyika to Tanzania (over 1,000 per month), even though there have been new cease-fire pledges in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Congolese reported new Mai Mai attacks on anti-Kinshasa rebels last week.

There have also been some arrivals in Tanzania from Rwanda. More than 160 Rwandans who arrived during the first half of the month told UNHCR staff of increased tensions after the resignation of key Hutu members of the Kigali Government.

Tanzania is hosting more than 460,000 refugees on its territory - 350,000 Burundians and 110,000 Congolese.