BURUNDI: New Wave of Violence

“This country remains a matter of concern that challenges the international community,” said this week the UN special envoy, Burkinabé Michel Kafando. Among his concerns, the organization in May of a referendum that would allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to remain in power until 2034. Since his disputed re-election in July 2015, the regime is hunting opponents using the security forces and the services of the Imbonerakure militia, affiliated to the presidential party, the CNDD-FDD.

Arbitrary arrests and death threats

For the year 2017, the Burundian human rights league Iteka reported 456 murders, 89 enforced disappearances, 283 victims of torture, 77 victims of sexual violence against women and 2,338 people arrested and often detained without any legal process.

Since February, observers have noted a resurgence of state violence, during the referendum campaign in this country affected by the repeated conflicts between Hutu and Tutsi since its independence in 1960. “Dozens of people perceived as opposed to the referendum were arbitrarily arrested. Supporters of the regime, including senior officials of the ruling party, the government and the administration, use violent threats – sometimes death threats – to intimidate the population and encourage them to vote “yes” “. alarm the International Federation of Human Rights (Fidh).

UN warns Burundi
“The authorities are resorting to new strategies of ethnic division, notably by creating” Hutu associations “used as rallying structures for party Hutus and channels for propagating the regime’s divisive ideology. ”

Hundreds of thousands of Burundians into exile
in his latest report, Iteka recorded for the month of February, 22 people killed, one abducted person and missing, 15 tortured, arbitrarily arrested 145. “The phenomenon of dead bodies continues to appear in many parts of the country and no investigation has been conducted, which is very worrying,” she worries.

This repeated violence since the outbreak of the crisis has driven hundreds of thousands of Burundians into exile. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has registered more than 427,000 new refugees and asylum seekers between 1 April 2015 and 31 December 2017. Another 200,000 people are believed to be internally displaced and three million Burundians need urgent humanitarian assistance.

Last episode: Wednesday, 2,500 Burundians refugees in a camp of DR Congo, fearing to be extradited to their country, were exfiltrated by the blue helmets in Rwanda. In September, in that same camp, 36 Burundian refugees had been killed by Congolese soldiers.

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