Makamba (Burundi) – While the UNHCR High Commission for Refugees stays straight with its reports on the numbers of Burundian refugees in the United Republic of Tanzania, the local administration in Makamba insists that the UNHCR of not differentiating political from economic refugees.

Gad NIYUKURI, governor of Makamba province, said that a significant number of refugees claim to flee the insecurity while they are fleeing famine and lack of land to cultivate. He added that only 50,000 people fled the country, and 47,000 among them had returned. The local administration in Makamba explains that all these population movements towards Tanzania vary according to the seasons. “During the harvest season, the number of workers migrating to Tanzania decreases and increases during the farming season, as some citizens leave Burundi for Tanzania in search of work in the farms.”

However, there is a discrepancy between the UNHCR report and that of the provincial administration in Makamba. In March, the UNHCR reported that 68,567 refugees from Makamba were still present in Tanzania. On June 19, 2017, UNHCR reported that 244,127 Burundians refugees were in Tanzanian territory. It’s worth mentioning that the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees of May 2017 counts 430,029 Burundian refugees in various countries of the region.