Rwanda: May 9, 2000


: The fighting in Burundi has created a "displaced persons pool" that seems to fluctuate between 300,000 to 400,000 people at any one time. Recent reports have suggested that 100,000 Burundians have fled to Tanzania or the Tanzani border areas. FYEO has published several short notes on the "regroupment camps" the Tutsi-led Burundian government has used to both protect Burundian villagers and control them (ie, keep them from supporting rebels). Figures on the number of people in these "camps" have been hard to come by, though another three to five hundred thousand wasn't considered an outrageous assumption. Now a couple of western news sources report that the Burundian government has released a report that 100,000 Burundians living in "regroupment camps" near the capital of Bujumbura are returning to their villages. But here's the kicker --- some of the camps will now be turned into villages. The report claims another 80,000 "camp residents" have decided to stay in the camps and make them permanent villages. The report also includes an official government figure for the total number of people in the camps: 350,000. One government spokesman said that the camps may eventually become suburbs of Bujumbura complete with electricity service and water.


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