The dramatic return of Burundi's Rwasa Former rebel leader reappears after years in hiding, announcing plans to run in 2015 elections. By Rebecca Rattner and Adrienne Lemon 13 August 2013
After three years in hiding, Agathon Rwasa - the infamous leader of the Burundian rebel group National Liberation Front (FNL) - emerged on August 6 to give his first public speech since 2010.
The police, though not aggressive, were prepared. Armed with AK-47s and tear gas, they blocked Rwasa from getting out of his car, claiming that he had not obtained the requisite permission for the gathering. (read more)
Avril 1972, un contexte politique propice à la répression Par Antoine Kaburahe Iwacu 29 avril 2013
Un président faible, entouré par des ultras régionalistes tutsi. Un massacre contre les Tutsi. Marc Manirakiza explique le contexte de l’emballement de la machine répressive.
Les événements de 1972 débutent dans un climat un peu délétère, une ambiance de complots. Février 1972, plusieurs personnalités tutsi originaires de Muramvya avaient été condamnés à mort, puis graciésin extremis. Le montage était grossier, un jeune procureur, Léonard Nduwayo, entrera dans l’histoire en refusant de condamner les innocents. Quand les massacres commencent à Rumonge, Marc Manirakiza, un des « comploteurs » était détenu dans la prison de Rutana. Le président Micombero avait commué la condamnation à mort en réclusion criminelle.
Les événements de 1972 débutent dans un climat un peu délétère, une ambiance de complots. Février 1972, plusieurs personnalités tutsi originaires de Muramvya avaient été condamnés à mort, puis graciésin extremis. Le montage était grossier, un jeune procureur, Léonard Nduwayo, entrera dans l’histoire en refusant de condamner les innocents. Quand les massacres commencent à Rumonge, Marc Manirakiza, un des « comploteurs » était détenu dans la prison de Rutana. Le président Micombero avait commué la condamnation à mort en réclusion criminelle. (en lire plus)
Policeman shoots journalist by eNews Channel Africa 28 April 2013
Bujumbura - A journalist in Burundi has sustained serious injuries and is recovering in hospital after being shot by a police officer. According to witness accounts of the incident on Saturday, the police officer opened fire on Patrick Niyonkurur after he saw him allegedly extorting money from men carrying fruit to market. Niyonkuru, a local reporter, surprised the police officer in the capital before dawn on Saturday. (read more)
Burundi land commission is dividing Burundians Mailed by D.K. 03 April 2013
A widow, married to a Burundian, who purchased a house in 1972, is forced out of her home by the National Land Commission CNTB:
Burundi’s Lasting Problem Mailed by D.K. 03 April 2013
On 19th commemoration of 1994 Rwanda Tutsi genocide, remnants of those involved still find refuge in Burundi’s ruling Party, the same former Hutu militias trained by Rwanda former Ex-Far Army, as the Burundian ruling Party works with Eastern Congo based FDLR Hutu militia, too. Burundi serves as a one stop arms supply channel, with supplies from Khartoum regime (close ally to current Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza).
“My People are being exterminated in Burundi while the world looks on,and some are complicit in helping CNDD-FDD achieve just that.”
CNPR observed that Interahamwe and ex-FAR troops were "strongly implicated" in the violence plaguing Burundi.
The Commission said it had documentary evidence of "very close collaboration" between the ex-FAR and two Burundian rebel groups - CNDD/FDD and PALIPEHUTU/FNL. The report details instances of military coordination in the shipment of arms intended for use by the ex-FAR in and around Rwanda. The Commission also said it had been informed that two columns of ex-FAR participated in the attack on Bujumbura airport last December, which resulted in the massacre of some 200 civilians. "The fact that CNDD/FDD is not subject to any arms embargo therefore represents a loophole through which the ex-FAR...can acquire weapons and materiel in violation of the resolutions of the Security Council," the report notes. (read more)
Uganda and Burundi sign pact on refugees By Steven Candia, New Vision 28 March 2013
The governments of Uganda and Burundi and the UNHCR have signed the tripartite agreement that will pave way for the voluntary repatriation of Burundi refugees in the country.
The agreement was signed following a two-day meeting in Kampala, chaired Dr. Stephen Malinga, the minister for relief and disaster preparedness.
Malinga signed on behalf of Uganda while Clotilde Niragira, the Burundian minister for national solidarity human rights and gender signed for Burundi, with Mohammed Adar, the UNHCR country representative on behalf of UNHCR. (read more)
Burundi Government, Opposition Begin Dialogue By Kimeng Hilton Ndukong 13 March 2013
The Burundian government and opposition yesterday, March 11, 2013 began holding talks aimed at seeking ways and means of avoiding a repeat of the controversy over the 2010 elections that almost plunged the country into another civil war. The three-day discussions are the first since the 2000 Arusha Peace Agreement between the two sides, Radio France Internationale, RFI, reported.
Referred to as 'workshop,' the discussions have been organised by the United Nations in the capital, Bujumbura to prepare for the 2015 elections in a bid to keep the fragile peace in the country from collapsing. During the talks, participants will among other things, revisit the 2010 elections that were boycotted by the opposition in order to come up with what the UN described as a credible road map for the holding of all-inclusive, transparent, free and fair elections. (read more)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma and President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi. Photo: SA Presidency
Burundi's Bumpy Road to the 2015 Polls By UN Integrated Regional Information Networks 1 November 2012
Bujumbura — The two billion US dollars pledged by donors on 30 October to support Burundi's development sounds like a ringing endorsement of the central African country's progress from civil war to peace and democracy.
But memories are still fresh of the 1993-2005 conflict that killed more than 200,000 people, and, while they agree significant gains have been made, analysts, human rights experts, and civil society and political opposition members worry about a range of security and governance issues that could derail them ahead of the 2015 elections.
In the eight years since the war's conclusion, Burundi has held two multi-party elections, seen rebel groups transform into political parties, and developed a vibrant civil society and a relatively free press. Schools and health centres are open. Civil servants get paid. (read more)
UNHCR, Burundi to interview DR Congo refugees to grant them refugee status Agencies
Global Times 26 September, 2012
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Burundian government will start on Wednesday to interview at least 600 asylum seekers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) to grant them the refugee status, the Burundian home affairs minister said on Tuesday.
"As of tomorrow (Wednesday), the UN Refugee Agency and the Burundian government will start to interview those Congolese asylum seekers. Those who will qualify will receive the refugee status and will be sent to a refugee camp where they will be assisted," Burundian Home Affairs Minister Edouard Nduwimana told the Congolese asylum seekers when he visited them in the Burundian province of Cibitoke.
Nduwimana said the asylum seekers will be interviewed in accordance with the African Union Refugee Convention. (read more)
Since its independence from Belgium, Burundi has been confronted with ethnic violence between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority, as in its neighboring country, Rwanda.
Between 1959 and 1962 an estimated 50,000 Hutus were killed by the Tutsi Government. In 1972, the Tutsi army murdered an estimated 150,000 Hutus, including nearly all educated Hutus, in an attempt to “decapitate” the Hutu leadership. This was clearly a genocide, but no government protested. In 1988 another 25 000 Hutus were killed at Ntega and Marangara in northern Burundi, in massacres personally investigated by the President of Genocide Watch.
Peace talks led by Burundi President Buyoya resulted in the first multi-party elections in Burundi. However in 1993, Melchior Ndadaye, the first Hutu president of the country, was murdered. His assassination set off a 12-year civil war, marked by a downward spiral of revenge killings that some have called a “bilateral genocide” by the two dominant groups against each other. This bilateral genocide killed an estimated 300,000 people in Burundi, mostly civilians.
After difficult peace talks mediated by Nelson Mandela, with behind the scenes support from peacemakers like former US Congressman Howard Wolpe, the situation was somewhat stabilized when elections were organized in 2005. The main Hutu former rebel group FDD won and Pierre Nkurunziza became president. In May 2008, the government and the last active rebel group FNL signed a ceasefire.
However, no one was ever prosecuted for the murders of the past fifty years. Tensions have increased due to this ongoing impunity since the country’s 2010 general elections. In a 2012 report, Human Rights Watch reported that reciprocal killings by members of the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) and the former rebel group the National Liberation Forces (FNL) have increased (report Human Right Watch) . The largest recent massacre took place September 19, 2011 when nearly 40 people were killed in a bar in Gatumba, close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In December 2010, Amnesty International reported that there has never been justice for the Burundi massacre victims. The organization said the government should hold those accountable for massacres and other serious human rights violations during the civil wars (article Amnesty International). In July 2011, president Pierre Nkurunziza finally announced that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission would be established in 2012 (article ReliefWeb). After that commission will have completed its investigations, a special tribune would be formed.
Genocide Watch considers Burundi at stage 5: polarization.
Burundian servicemen patrol near the capital Bujumbura in 2008. REUTERS/Jean Pierre Aimé Harerimana