Burundi: Grenade kills 3, military coup predicted


President Nkurunziza receiving the EAC Flag from the East Africa Standby Force


A grenade attack on Friday claimed the lives of two Burundi police officers and a civilian the capital Bujumbura.

Deputy police spokesman, Pierre Nkurikiye, told Reuters that more than 10 people were wounded.

The three were killed in the Kamenge district of Bujumbura but another area was also hit.

One of the killed policemen was a senior officer.

United Nations says Burundi security is using live ammunition at protesters, beating them up and detaining them in the worst conditions ever.

Starting on Sunday, Burundians continue to protest President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third term.

US too believes Nkurunziza is violating the Arusha accords that ended the Burundi civil war between ethnic Tutsis and Hutus that ended in 2005.

Nkurunziza warns that those protesting against his decision are breaking the law.

So far more than 600 Burundi university students were driven to camp at the U.S embassy in Bujumbura on Wednesday due to insecurity and closure of the institution.

Social media is still in a blackout following the closure of top radio stations.

The violence championed by the ruling party’s militia, Imbonerakure, has driven thousands to neighboring Congo and Rwanda ahead of June 26, elections.

Martina Pomeroy, a UN refugee agency official based in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, says the UN has established a new camp in Mahama, southeastern Rwanda, where up to 1,800 refugees were being relocated to each day.

Analysts predict military coup

According to Frank Charnas, Africa analyst for global security consultancy Max Security, the situation has echoes of Burkina Faso, where former president Blaise Compaore was forced out of government by the military last year after attempting to change the constitution to extend his 27-year rule.

Charnas told NewsWeek that the fact the military are protecting the protesters does not bode well for Nkurunziza and could presuppose a military coup.

“This entrance of the military to pull the police away from protesters puts the army in a very powerful position, because they gain the trust of protesters,” Charnas is quoted as saying.

He also believes the international community has been slow to respond to the developing conflict in Burundi.

Charnas says it is now clear that these militias were being armed to intimidate members of the public into backing Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term.

Dr Charles Laurie, head of Africa at international risk analysts Verisk Maplecroft, told NewsWeek too that the president’s apparent reneging of the Arusha peace agreement, signed in 2000 to bring an end to the civil war and which stipulates a maximum of two presidential terms, could create further regional discord.

“Competing rebel groups could easily view this decision as a reason to pursue a variety of political objectives that could fuel regional tensions,” Laurie is quoted as saying.

Violent history:

A military coup d’état took place in Burundi on 25 July 1996.

In the midst of the Burundi Civil War, former president Pierre Buyoya (a Tutsi) deposed Hutu President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya.

According to Amnesty International, in the weeks following the coup, more than 6,000 people were killed in the country.

This was Buyoya’s second successful coup, having overthrown Jean-Baptiste Bagaza in 1987.

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