Refugees consider leaving Tanzania

March 12, 2008 at 7:22 PM

DODOMA, Tanzania, March 12 (UPI) -- The closing of three Tanzanian settlements in the Tabora and Rukwa regions is forcing many refugees from Burundi to consider returning home.

The Ulyankulu, Katumba and Nishamo settlements are being shut down by Burundi and Tanzanian authorities together with the United Nations Refugee Agency, U.N. Integrated Regional Information Networks reported Wednesday.

There are 218,000 Burundian refugees residing in these three locations faced with the decision of whether to return to Burundi or stay in the country they have come to call home.

"For those who now feel that you are now more Tanzanian and pleased to remain, the government has generously offered to consider your application for citizenship in accordance to the country's laws," refugee agency Chief Antonio Guterres said.

About 20 percent of Burundian refugees said during a population registration in 2006 that they wanted to return to Burundi, while 172,000 said they wanted to stay in Tanzania, the U.N. agency reported.

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