BUKAVU, DR Congo, March 7 (Xinhua) -- Nearly 2,500 Burundian refugees from a transit camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Wednesday crossed the border to arrive in Rwanda, according to DRC border authorities.
An official from the DRC's migration service said the Burundian refugees, previously settled in Kamanyola in South Kivu, are currently in Bugarama, Rwanda.
The UN mission in the DRC claimed to have escorted these Burundian refugees to the border with Rwanda for the crossing.
"They told us that they wanted to leave the Kamanyola transit camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and asked the MONUSCO force to accompany them to the border with Rwanda, which we accepted in accordance with our mandate of protection of civilians on Congolese soil," said MONUSCO spokesperson in the DRC, Florence Marshall.
In a statement on Wednesday, an adviser to DRC President Joseph Kabila said Rwanda had agreed to host these refugees on its territory.
"They were not refugees but asylum seekers, and they did not escape. The reality is that the Congolese government has decided not to grant them asylum following their refusal to comply with certain requirements on this matter," the adviser said.
The presence of these Burundian refugees in the province of South-Kivu has been at the root of several controversies between the authorities and the local population. The Burundian government has also repeatedly requested their extradition to Burundi.
According to sources close to the UN Mission in the DRC, these Burundian refugees had decided to go to Rwanda for fear of being forcibly extradited to Burundi by the DRC authorities.