In the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, Belgium chartered a military plane on Saturday April 4 to repatriate some of its nationals as well as Europeans and Canadians who remained in Burundi. However, about thirty passengers initially scheduled on this flight and enjoying dual nationality were prohibited from leaving the territory, to the chagrin of the Belgian authorities.
It is almost 7 p.m. Saturday evening when the Belgian military plane lands in Bujumbura. Earlier in the day, a list of passengers had been communicated to the Burundian authorities: it is made up of residents in the country, people with fragile health, others visiting for tourism or for business and who got stuck after the suspension. commercial flights. Difficult to know the exact number, but a Belgian diplomatic source says that a hundred people were to take this plane.
“An order from above”
They will ultimately be much less numerous because in the departure lounge, the commander of the Bujumbura airport finally sets apart all those who have dual nationality. According to witnesses, he then prohibited them from boarding, citing ” an order from above Without further explanation. And this despite the protests of the Belgian ambassador present on the spot.
According to Brussels, around twenty Belgo-Burundians are concerned, as well as a dozen other binationals who have a French, Scandinavian or Canadian passport. A spokesperson for the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regrets ” a very uncomfortable situation ” He specifies that contact was made in an attempt to resolve the situation but without feedback from Gitega. Requested by RFI, the Burundian authorities have so far not reacted.
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Anyway, the plane still took off on Saturday evening, it then stopped in Rwanda to welcome other passengers, before returning to Belgium.
For its part, Germany chartered this Sunday, April 5, an Ethiopian Airlines plane to repatriate its nationals. He left Bujumbura International Airport in the morning. A plane chartered by the United States is also expected this Monday in Burundi.
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