Burundi

Burundi: Displaced families end protest after new land offer

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BUJUMBURA, 3 Aug 2005 (IRIN) - Hundreds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have been camping out in front of a government building in Bujumbura since 25 July say they will end their protest now that the government has agreed to give them land on which to settle.

"We saw the land and it is large," a representative of the IDPs, who did not want to be identified, told IRIN on Tuesday. "However we will only be totally satisfied when we get a letter [from the government] testifying that the land has really been given to us."

The protesters represent 609 families who have been displaced since Burundi's civil war started in 1993. They claim to have been given land in Bujumbura's Kinama neighbourhood by the nation's former president, Pierre Buyoya.

Buyoya visited the IDPs at Kinama in 1997 and announced on national radio that the IDPs would get land. However the IDPs have no documents to prove it.

The current government has since parcelled the land out to civil servants. Two weeks ago bulldozers from the Ministry of Public Works destroyed the IDPs homes on the land.

The new land is in another part of Kinama neighbourhood.

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