The Government of Rwanda has expressed concern over the deteriorating situation in Burundi.
Increasing reports of unrest and violence targeting unarmed civilians are particularly worrying, says Rwanda’s foreign affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo.
Rwanda commended the efforts of several regional and international organizations and leaders including the Chair of the African Union, the Chair of the East African Community, the United Nations and the European Union.
“The statements by the United States and the United Kingdom urging Burundi to return to peace are not without merit,” Mushikiwabo pointed out.
She urged the Government of Burundi to take immediate necessary steps to ensure the protection of its population, end the worsening humanitarian situation and restore peace.
She said so far Rwanda has been particularly affected by the situation in Burundi.
“We take seriously the reports of links to FDLR, the hundreds refugees crossing into Rwanda daily and above all the imperative of protection of civilians. We appeal to leaders of Burundi to do everything in their power to bring the country back to a peaceful situation. We will continue to work with the region and the international community to support peace.”
“While we respect Burundi’s sovereignty in addressing internal matters, Rwanda considers the safety of innocent population as a regional and international responsibility,” the Minister added.
3 killed in protests and top judges flees
Three people were killed in Burundi yesterday in violent clashes with the security forces, said the Red Cross.
Street demonstration seeking to block President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid intensified in Musaga, a Bujumbura surburb.
Red Cross spokesman Alexis Manirakiza, said an estimated 45 more people were wounded.
Like what happened last where six people were killed, police on Monday also fired live ammunition at unarmed protesters.
Burundi army is now acting as a buffer between angry protesters and the police.
Meanwhile, the Vice President of Burundi Constitutional Court has escaped to Rwanda, ahead of court’s decision on President’s eligibility to run for 3rd term.
Judge Sylvere Nimpagaritse told AFP that the court’s judges had received death threats from senior figures to rubberstamp the disputed candidature of the president.
Nimpagaritse claimed that a majority of the court’s seven judges believed it would be unconstitutional for Nkurunziza to stand again but were forced to change their mind.
Nkurunziza, a Hutu, was selected president by Parliament in 2005 following the Arusha Agreements that ended the long civil war.
He was re-elected unopposed in 2010.
Former Kenyan Prime Minister speaks
Former Kenyan Prime Minsiter, Raila Odinga, said there was an increase in human rights violations, including arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings calling upon the EAC to act.
“Three issues should worry all leaders in the region and the international community about the Imbonerakure; firstly, it is alleged that the youth group is taking an ethnic character,” he is quoted by The Standard Kenya as saying.
“Secondly, the group is said to be arming itself with crude weapons and even a few guns. Thirdly, and even more sinister, is the allegation that the youth wing is being used to ‘map and identify’ those who are opposed to the third-term quest by the President.”
He said the world must push Burundi to conduct credible elections, even as he urged Nkurunziza to honour the Constitution and decline going for the unconstitutional third term.