Govt and Burundi began to repatriate Burundian refugees from Tanzania in spite of opposition from rights groups contending that conditions not safe for their return; some 600 refugees arrived in Gisuru in Burundi’s Ruyigi province 3 Oct. President Magufuli 11 Oct told Burundian refugees to return home and not to expect Tanzanian citizenship. Tanzania and Burundi 12 Oct signed agreement allowing their police forces to conduct cross-border operations, including in refugee camps in Tanzania. Unidentified assailants 19 Oct kidnapped four Burundian refugees from Nduta camp; camp residents blamed Burundian police.
Next year’s elections in Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous Tanzanian archipelago, will be hard fought. With the ruling party changing the rules in its favour, they could turn violent. The islands’ politicians should urgently meet to discuss levelling the playing field and lowering the risk of clashes.
Al-Shabaab remains focused on recapturing power in Somalia, but it continues to plot attacks in Kenya and Tanzania – and perhaps in Uganda as well. To counter the movement, East African states should eschew heavy-handed crackdowns and work instead to reduce its appeal to potential recruits.
Originally published in The East African