The U.N. says more than 50,000 people from Burundi have fled pre-election violence to neighboring countries, raising fears of a humanitarian crisis. Mana Rabiee reports.
There's an exodus underway in east Africa....Burundians fleeing their country by the thousands. The UN says pre-election violence has sent more than 50,000 people -- mostly women and children -- across the border in recent weeks ... to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania or the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It's raising fears of a humanitarian crisis .. as scores begin their journeys with little more than the clothes on their backs. (SOUNDBITE) (Kirundi) EMMANUEL BIGIRIMANA, BURUNDIAN REFUGEE SAYING: "You don't even have time to take anything valuable, like livestock or money." The violence they're fleeing erupted after President Pierre Enkurunziza announced plans to run for a third term in office. The opposition says the move violates the constitution as well as a peace deal that ended Burundi's ethnically-charged civil war a decade ago. In Rwanda, new arrivals -- like those at this UN refugee camp -- say they were harassed back home by the ruling party's youth wing. One refugee wishes the U.N. would move everyone further away. (SOUNDBITE) (Swahili) IZEIMA MWANAAMINI, BURUNDIAN REFUGEE SAYING: "Here is close to the border with Burundi. The people we are running away from can find us here and harm us." Burundi is now facing its most serious political crisis since the civil war ended… and amid the violence, the UN is warning that a humanitarian crisis could also unfold, plunging the entire region back into chaos.