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Burundi refugees to be resettled in Manyara region

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By Arusha Times Correspondent

Hundreds of Burundi refugees who have been naturalised will be resettled in Manyara region, it was announced in Babati last week.

A total of 1,500 have been earmarked for resettlement in Hanang, Kiteto and Simanjiro districts, government officials in the region confirmed.

A source close to the regional secretariat said each of the three districts would absorb 500 of the naturalised citizens.

"Each district will receive 500 ex-refugees", an official told this newspaper, without saying when relocation would start.

The ex-Burundi nationals to be relocated to Manyara are believed to be among the 162,256 who were granted Tanzanian citizenship last year.

Many of them are likely to be still living in the western regions of Tabora, Kigoma and Rukwa where they settled at different times between the 1970s and 1990s due to civil strife in their country.

Efforts to contact the administrators of the three districts to give further information on which villages the former Burundi nationals would be settled.

Last year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced that Tanzania had granted citizenship to 162,256 out of the 164,000 refugees who applied for naturalisation.

Information about the new comers to the three districts was revealed by the Hanang district executive director Ms Goody Pamba last week during a council session in Katesh.

She said Hanang, Kiteto and Simanjiro should brace up for the new comers and that they will be relocated in various villages.

She could not explain where the rest of the 160,000 plus former Burundians would be resettled.

Kiteto and Simanjiro are among the most sparsely populated districts in the country with huge swathes of 'empty' land.