Refugees in Tanzania must go home President John Magufuli said a week after officials began mass repatriations of Burundians despite concerns they may face political persecution.
Tanzanian officials said all repatriations will be voluntary but Magufuli warned in a speech refugees in Tanzania, most of who are Burundians, cannot stay indefinitely and will not be granted citizenship.
“Go back home.Don’t insist on staying in Tanzania as refugees or expect citizenship while Burundi is stable,” Magufuli said at a rally in Katavi region near a large refugee camp in north-western Tanzania.
“Even Jesus ran to Egypt as a refugee and returned to his land to preach. Why do you want to stay here permanently and not return to your country?” he asked.
Burundians made up the majority of the 280 000 refugees registered in Tanzania at the end of 2018, according to the United Nations.
Hundreds of Burundians died in clashes with security forces since 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third, disputed term in office.
Burundi and Tanzania agreed in August to repatriate 200 000 refugees who sought refuge in Tanzania.
Burundi is due to hold elections next year. The security services reportedly continue to torture, rape and murder people perceived as opposing Nkurunziza.