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UN: Burundi Refugees Top 250,000


FILE - Melissa Fleming, Communications and Public Information Service Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) attends a debate "Living peace, stopping gender and sexual violence on Dec 13, 2014.

FILE - Melissa Fleming, Communications and Public Information Service Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) attends a debate "Living peace, stopping gender and sexual violence on Dec 13, 2014.

The United Nations refugee agency says the number of people who have fled Burundi because of violence and political tension has climbed to a quarter-million.

Spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said Friday that camps are becoming overcrowded in all the host countries, especially Tanzania, which has taken in more than 130,000 Burundians since early last April.

She noted the U.N. agency has received just 3 percent of the $175 million it asked for to deal with the Burundian refugee crisis.

Burundians began fleeing the country almost a year ago after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to run for a controversial third term, which he later won.

At least 400 people have been killed since then in clashes between police and protesters and other acts of violence in the Central African country.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited Burundi last month, urging the president to hold talks with opposition leaders to end the turmoil.

Nkurunziza agreed to a dialogue, but his move to exclude certain opponents led the main opposition group to reject the plan as a "false opening."

The East African Community (EAC) has named former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa as the new mediator for the talks whenever they take place.

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