Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, is currently blaming his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame, for fuelling a rebellion in the northern part of the country and near the Rwandan border.
The accusation came after atleast 200 Burundi soldiers joined the rebels following the July 10 attack in Cibitoke province where government troops were reportedly crushed.
On the same day, reports Bujumbura News, military and police loyal to President Nkurunziza joined the maquis (rebels).
The 200 military that entered Kibira to fight against Nkurunziza was from Kanyanza.
On July 12, a report indicated that Bakundukize Liboire, the spokesman of the National Police of Burundi, had just survived an assassination attempt and fled into exile.
As we have gathered, Bakundukize joined rebels the next day July 13.
Government parades goat herders as rebels
While Burundi army claims they defeated rebels, we are told if the government had an upper hand, they would have continued the offensive to root out rebels once and for all.
Instead, Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, Burundi’s army spokesman, called journalists to Cibitoke they presented 170 men and allegedly seized weapons.
He told reporters the army had killed 31 attackers and captured 170 others.
According to Bujumbura News, journalists from international media later discovered that the paraded “rebels” were “goat herders” who had been paid 20,000 Burundian francs to pose as “rebels”.
They were rushed off but when relatives intervened, intelligence later promised to “release” the “prisoners of war” if they stood in front of cameras and accepted that they were rebels.
Burundi army on July 16, claimed having killed 8 armed rebels leaving Kibira National Park near Bukinanyana in Cibitoke province “to keep up morale of regime sympathisers”.
Nkurunziza blames Kagame for the rebellion
Joseph Szlavik, the head of a Washington lobbying firm representing Burundi’s government was quoted alleging that Rwanda is providing arms and logistical support to Nkurunziza’s opponents.
Szlavik, head of Scribe Strategies & Advisors, alleged this after reports of fighting between government troops and an unidentified armed group near Burundi’s border with Rwanda.
The government of President Kagame out rightly denied involvement in the growing rebellion inside Burundi.
According to The Nation, Szlavik’s group is lobbying on behalf of the Burundi government in Washington so that US supports Nkurunziza’s third term in office.
Szlavik confidently said Nkurunziza “is very popular. He doesn’t have to rig the election to win”.