Burundi refugees reach 50,000

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An elderly woman waits among a crowd of other Burundian refugees for assistance in Rwanda’s Mahama Refugee Camp. Photo: UNHCR/K.Holt

More than 50,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries following violence which began in mid-April, according to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR.

Civil unrest in the Central African country was sparked after the President decided to run for a third term.

Daniel Dickinson reports

The United Nations had warned that President Pierre Nkurunziza's attempt to seek a third term in the June presidential election was unconstitutional.

But his decision to run was approved by authorities in the country.

Burundians have been demonstrating against his name appearing on the ballot for a third time.

The ensuing violence has led to mass displacements.

Adrian Edwards, the UNHCR Spokesperson, says Burundi is taking a step backwards.

 "Since Burundi's civil war ended in 2005, it has seen some of the most promising developments in recent refugee history in Africa. Since the eruption of pre-election violence in mid-April, however, there have been alarming signs that this progress is being undone."

Most of the refugees have fled to Rwanda, followed by Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

UNHCR says women and young people, including a large number of unaccompanied children, are in the majority.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'03"

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