Almost 500 Burundian refugees living in Rwanda returned to their home country on Thursday.
They are the first group to return after five years in exile.
They fled in 2015, when the decision by the late President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a third term, which his critics called unconstitutional, caused political turmoil and the death of hundreds of people.
“This is a historic moment and we are happy that our citizens are finally retuning after all these years to a peaceful Burundi with a new and bright future,” Gervais Ndirakobuca, the minister of the Interior and Public Security of Burundi, said.
“We will do our best for you to come home and thrive.”
A new president, Evariste Ndayishimiye, won the elections last June. He has invited all those in exile to return and help build a new nation.
Rwanga hosts close to seventy two thousand refugees and many of them wish to go home
More voluntary repatriation operations will be organized.