Rwanda to send Burundi refugees to other countries after U.S. warning

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Rwanda will send Burundian refugees to other countries, the foreign minister said on Friday, after the United States said that they were being recruited from camps to fight on behalf of the Burundian opposition.

Louise Mushikiwabo said in a statement that Rwanda would immediately begin working with partners in the international community to relocate refugees from aid-dependent Burundi.
“For Rwanda, the growing risks to our national security from the Burundian impasse and misunderstandings in our foreign relations are unacceptable,” she said, without elaborating.

Burundi was plunged into one of its worst crises since a civil war ended in 2005 after President Pierre Nkurunziza decided in April to run for a third term in office, a move that opponents said was against the constitution.

More than 400 people have been killed since then.

A confidential report to the United Nations Security Council accuses Rwanda of recruiting and training Burundian refugees with the goal of ousting Nkurunziza.

The report cites accounts from several rebel fighters, who told monitors the training was done in a forest camp in Rwanda.

Burundi accused Rwanda in December of supporting a rebel group that was recruiting Burundian refugees on Rwandan soil, but Rwandan President Paul Kagame dismissed the allegations as “childish.”

Burundi and Rwanda have the same ethnic mix, about 85 percent Hutus and 15 percent Tutsis. The 12-year civil war in Burundi pitted a Tutsi-led army against Hutu rebel groups.