"A total of 12,720 Burundian refugees had arrived in Kigoma by December 29 compared to 5,365 last month," said Marion Roche, head of a sub-office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees in Kigoma.
"The high number this month is probably a reflection of the worsening stability in Burundi," said Roche.
She said most refugees paint a gloomy picture of the situation in Burundi, accusing rebels of burning houses along the border and the army of harassing people.
According to Roche, her office has not been overwhelmed with problems in the wake of the influx because contingency plans had been made in collaboration with the Tanzanian government.
Earlier, media sources said fierce fighting in several Burundian provinces was causing people to flee and some refugees were also crossing into Tanzania to avoid forced resettlement by the Tutsi-dominated army.
Rebel attacks in and around Burundi's capital Bujumbura have increased sharply since the beginning of this year, prompting the minority Tutsi government to force tens of thousands of people, mostly majority Hutus, to move into camps to allow the army to " cleanse" the rebels.
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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/03/2000 07:04:36