The situation of more than 1,000 ethnic Tutsi refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo remains unclear - after residents of a Congolese border town erected barricades to prevent their return from neighboring Burundi.

The refugees, who fled fighting in the east of their country in June, have tried to return home in the past week.

But they have been stranded in a no man's land between Congo and Burundi for days after DRC border guards refused them entry.

DRC Deputy Interior Minister Paul Musafiri, who is visiting the border region, said the refugees would be allowed to return Saturday.

However a Burundian army officer, who asked not to be named, told the French News Agency DRC authorities fear that rebel Congolese soldiers are among the refugees.