AP NEWS

Burundi leader urges nearly 250,000 refugees to return home

July 21, 2017 GMT
FILE - In this Saturday, May 23, 2015 file photo, refugees who fled Burundi's violence and political tension wait to board a UN ship, at Kagunga on Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania, to be taken to the port city of Kigoma. Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, during his first visit to Tanzania Friday, July 21, 2017 outside Burundi since a failed coup attempt in 2015, is urging the nearly quarter-million Burundians sheltering in Tanzania to return home, saying the country is now peaceful. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)
FILE - In this Saturday, May 23, 2015 file photo, refugees who fled Burundi's violence and political tension wait to board a UN ship, at Kagunga on Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania, to be taken to the port city of Kigoma. Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, during his first visit to Tanzania Friday, July 21, 2017 outside Burundi since a failed coup attempt in 2015, is urging the nearly quarter-million Burundians sheltering in Tanzania to return home, saying the country is now peaceful. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, File)

DODOMA, Tanzania (AP) — Burundi’s president is urging the nearly quarter-million Burundians sheltering in Tanzania to return home, saying the country is now peaceful.

President Pierre Nkurunziza is visiting neighboring Tanzania on his first visit outside Burundi since a failed coup attempt in 2015.

The United Nations says more than 500 people have been killed in violence around Nkurunziza’s ultimately successful decision in 2015 to seek a disputed third term. Rights groups and the U.N. say the violence continues.

Nkurunziza made the remarks in a meeting Thursday with Tanzanian President John Magufuli. A statement from Tanzania’s presidency says Magufuli wants Burundian refugees “to voluntarily return home.”

Tanzania’s interior ministry says about 247,000 Burundians are in refugee camps in the Kigoma region.