Bujumbura, 6 May 2008 (FH) - Burundians, who fled to Tanzania in 1972 during bloody civil war but are now returning home, want to reclaim possession of their goods and properties.

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A Land and Goods Commission was set up by government in order to help them. However, they are facing many difficulties, including a land law, which stipulates that land occupied for 30 years automatically becomes property of the new occupant.

Judith Nyandwi lost her husband in 1972 and has just returned. "I want my husband's money that was deposited at the Credit Bank of Bujumbura to be reverted to me at the current value and my Volvo N90 truck is somewhere in Bujumbura but it is no longer in running order. I want the commission to give it back to me in its original condition ", she told a local radio station. She also wants to recover her land which is now occupied by other people.

Four other repatriates from the same zone of Mugara, in Rumonge, in the province of Bururi, have complained that they had their cars and motorbikes plundered during the tragedy.

All have lodged their complaints to the Land and Goods Commission created by President Pierre Nkurunziza in order to get their rights back. But the Commission is far from satisfying the claims of these returnees.

Last week, ten families who returned from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) decided to go back into exile because for them Burundi was inhabitable without their land.

Some lands have been redistributed by the government after 1972.

According to an economist, Mr. Zenon Nicayenzi, a former minister of defence, Burundian justice is unable to solve these conflicts.

"We need a justice system able to solve these problems... Transitional justice is essential to clear up the situation and to rectify the wrongs of the past", he told the Hirondelle Agency.


© Hirondelle News Agency