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| 1 Apr 2016
Violence increased while govt, under international pressure, made cosmetic concessions to opposition but continued repression. Gunmen killed three officials during month including two from ruling party; two army officers also shot dead 22 March in separate incidents in Bujumbura. New wave of army defections 24 March. One soldier died in Muzinda military camp 28 March after reportedly trying to kill other soldiers; army claimed it was suicide. Two grenades thrown at police bus in Bujumbura 29 March, seven injured. Govt freed 158 political prisoners, suspended around fifteen arrest warrants, reauthorised one local NGO and reopened two radio stations, but police arrested opposition activists including on 9 March Nadebu party president Hugo Haramategeko. EU 14 March suspended direct budget support to govt, but will maintain humanitarian aid, 29 March said it will cut funding to Burundi’s peacekeeping contingent in Somalia. Ruling party 10 March claimed Rwandan President Kagame behind plot to destabilise Burundi. Security services 7 March arrested man they claimed to be Rwandan spy; Rwanda 17 March denied allegation. Former Rwandan minister, arrested Dec 2015 for spying, died suddenly in Bujumbura prison 31 March. UN 22 March said 474 people killed in political violence since April 2015. UNHCR 4 March said over 250,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring states.
| 1 Mar 2016
President Nkurunziza gave indications he was ready to make concessions to resolve political crisis amid international pressure: after meeting Nkurunziza, UNSG Ban 23 Feb announced govt would hold political dialogue with opposition, lift media restrictions and release 2,000 prisoners. EU FMs 15 Feb said they were ready to strengthen economic sanctions against instigators of rights violations. Presidents of South Africa, Mauritania, Senegal, Gabon and Ethiopia visited Bujumbura 24-27 Feb; govt confirmed willingness to engage in dialogue, South African President Zuma 27 Feb said AU would send 100 human rights and 100 military monitors. Violence continued: gunmen 21 Feb killed two people; one person killed in grenade attack at market in Bujumbura 22 Feb.
| 1 Feb 2016
Govt continued to refuse international intervention saying Burundi is “99% safe”; during 25 Jan UNSC envoys’ visit, President Nkurunziza rejected calls for dialogue with opposition and deployment of AU-proposed 5,000-strong peacekeeping force. AU summit 30-31 Jan shelved peacekeeping mission, but AU will send delegation of African presidents to negotiate with govt. Govt 5 Jan refused to attend second meeting with opposition set for 8 Jan in Arusha, Tanzania to discuss Uganda-mediated peace talks. Govt prevented planned 26 Jan arrival of OHCHR experts; 28 Jan arrested two Le Monde journalists, released next day. Violence continued in Bujumbura but at lower intensity than Dec; grenade attacks and shooting throughout month killed at least five. Supreme Court 15 Jan sentenced to life imprisonment four ex-generals involved in May 2015 coup attempt, nine others for 30 years.
| 4 Jan 2016
Violence in Bujumbura dramatically intensified 11 Dec with coordinated attack on three military camps by unidentified armed insurgents. Security forces swiftly retaliated, army announced 87 killed including eight members of security forces; local sources put death toll at nearly 200 with reports of abuses including extrajudicial executions by security services. Incident prompted international outcry; AU Peace and Security Council 17 Dec decided to deploy 5,000-strong AU Prevention and Protection Mission (MAPROBU); President Nkurunziza said Burundians would fight any foreign troops. Rebel groups 23 Dec announced formation of “Republican Forces of Burundi (FOREBU)” to oust Nkurunziza. AU called for both govt and opposition to cooperate with peace talks, next round scheduled for 6 Jan. Trial of 28 accused of involvement in May coup attempt began mid-Dec.
| 1 Dec 2015
President Nkurunziza 2 Nov announced “perpetrators of crimes” had five days to disarm in return for amnesty or be treated as enemies of state; scores fled Bujumbura early Nov. Daily deadly violence, shootings and repression continued in capital throughout month, including grenades thrown at mayor’s residence 16 Nov; mortar bombs exploded near presidential palace 18 Nov: son of human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa killed 6 Nov; prominent journalist and editor of Iwacu independent newspaper fled to Belgium after being questioned mid-month over alleged links to plotters of May coup attempt. Authorities 8 Nov began disarmament operations in Bujumbura’s Mutakara neighbourhood. Nkurunziza’s ultimatum and perceived “rhetorical similarities” with Rwanda in 1994 triggered increased diplomatic interventions: Rwandan President Kagame urged Burundi not to repeat Rwanda’s genocide; Ugandan defence minister 13 Nov met with Burundi stakeholders and Belgian diplomats in attempt to discuss reactivating stalled Ugandan mediation. UNSG Ban 6 Nov condemned “inflammatory rhetoric”, killing and torture; 30 Nov outlined options for addressing crisis including possible deployment of peacekeepers. UNSC 12 Nov passed resolution condemning violence and urging govt to convene inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue. EU and Belgium 13 Nov began evacuating all non-essential personnel from Bujumbura.
- Crisis Group Conflict Alert, “Burundi: Conflict Alert”, 5 Nov. 2015.
- Crisis Group Statement, “Joint NGO Statement Urging Coordinated Global Response to the Escalating Human Rights Crisis in Burundi”, 12 Nov. 2015.
- Thierry Vircoulon, “Burundi: How to Deconstruct Peace”, IPI Global Observatory, 24 Nov. 2015.
- Jean-Marie Guéhenno, Ayo Obe, and Fola Adeola,“AU was set up for an explosive crisis like Burundi; it must act”, The East African, 14 Nov. 2015.
- “UN ramps up pressure on Burundian government with resolution on violence”, Guardian, 12 Nov. 2015.
| 2 Nov 2015
Despite early Oct creation of Inter-Burundi Dialogue Commission to oversee dialogue between govt and opposition, daily violence continued, especially in Bujumbura where corpses were found on streets throughout month. Some twenty civilians killed 3 and 13 Oct in shootings, clashes with security forces. Armed groups mid-Oct repeatedly attacked police positions in Bujumbura, reportedly killing a dozen policemen. Opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) party representative found dead 18 Oct following 17 Oct arrest. Relations with Rwanda continued to deteriorate: FM Alain Nyamitwe 1 Oct accused Rwanda of training rebels to destabilise country; police 18 Oct reportedly killed six arrested Rwandans. Govt 7 Oct expelled Désiré Nyaruhirira, first counsellor of Rwandan embassy, for “creating insecurity”; 9 Oct asked Belgium to replace its ambassador. International pressure on govt and authorities increased: UNSC 28 Oct urged stakeholders to pursue dialogue; UN rights chief Zeid 23 Oct expressed concern over “rapidly worsening” security and rights situation; EU 1 Oct imposed sanctions on three security officials and former general, 26 Oct invited govt to talks, threatened aid suspension if talks fail; AU 17 Oct adopted targeted sanctions, decided to launch investigation into rights violations, called for peace talks outside Burundi and preparation of African-led peace mission in case of deterioration.
| 1 Oct 2015
Political violence and insecurity increased in Bujumbura as govt-opposition dialogue remained deadlocked. Tensions increased within security forces and ruling CNDD-FDD: army chief of staff General Prime Niyongabo 11 Sept escaped assassination attempt, reportedly by army members, which left at least six dead. Attacks on opposition, arrests and kidnappings continued, including 7 Sept killing of opposition Union for Peace and Development (UPD) spokesperson Patrice Gahungu in Bujumbura and 15-16 Sept arrest of some 100 men, reportedly to prevent them from joining armed anti-govt groups. Catholic Church 22 Sept called for govt-opposition dialogue; govt 23 Sept said is open to talks, but will not negotiate with opposition leaders who “pursue insurgency”. Armed assailants attacked several security forces’ posts near Bujumbura throughout month; mortars fired at presidential palace on 25 Sept. Attorney general 17 Sept published report identifying 25 leaders of April-June protests, said they worked with organisers of May military coup.
| 1 Sep 2015
Violence escalated following President Nkurunziza’s successful July bid for third presidential term: former intelligence chief and president’s close advisor General Adolphe Nshimirimana killed 2 Aug in rocket attack on his car; leading civil society figure Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa seriously wounded by gunmen in apparent murder attempt 3 Aug; ex-army chief Jean Bikomagu murdered 15 Aug; opposition politician Pontien Barutwanayo killed 22 Aug; three people including ruling CNDD-FDD official shot dead 30 Aug. Arbitrary arrests, kidnappings and killings of opposition members, civil society and military, and anti- and pro-Nkurunziza youth throughout month compounded atmosphere of fear. Nkurunziza 26 Aug said groups that threaten national security must be destroyed, announced creation of special security committees. Amnesty International 24 Aug said security forces have been torturing suspected Nkurunziza opponents since beginning of protests 26 April. UNSC 10 Aug expressed concern, called on govt to resume dialogue with opposition. Nkurunziza opponents early month formed “National Council for Respect of Arusha agreement, Restoration of Rule of Law” (CNARED), 18 Aug called on Nkurunziza to resign. Nkurunziza 24 Aug appointed new govt comprising opposition National Liberation Forces (FNL) and ruling CNDD-FDD ministers after being sworn in 20 Aug.
| 3 Aug 2015
Electoral commission (CENI) 24 July announced President Nkurunziza’s victory in 21 July presidential elections boycotted by opposition and accompanied by violence in Bujumbura. UN, U.S. said elections not credible; opposition leader Agathon Rwasa 25 July rejected result after 22 July calling on Nkurunziza to form unity govt to avoid violence, but attended opening session of new parliament 27 July, 30 July was named deputy speaker, breaking unity of opposition. Violence in Bujumbura intensified throughout month including police killing six alleged gang members after several policemen were killed 1 July. CENI 7 July announced Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD won 77% of votes in late June legislative and district elections; UN 2 July said elections not free and fair. EAC 6 July appointed Ugandan President Museveni as mediator in Burundi crisis; Museveni met with stakeholders 14-15 July, govt 19 July failed to appear and asked to adjourn talks. Opposition members living abroad 15 July announced creation of national council to restore Arusha agreement, oppose Nkurunziza; council set to hold first meeting end of month. Army 13 July said 31 militants who crossed border from Rwanda killed 10 July, some 170 captured; Kigali denied militants came from Rwanda.
| 1 Jul 2015
Parliamentary elections opened 29 June amid climate of fear and violence, despite international efforts to delay polls and ensure they are free and fair. Opening of several voting stations delayed by 29 June grenade attacks. Seventeen opposition parties 11 June announced boycott of 29 June parliamentary vote and presidential polls scheduled for 15 July; AU chief 28 June said AU will not observe elections after govt rejected international proposal to move legislative and presidential elections to 30 July and mid-August respectively. Violence in Bujumbura continued despite end of mass protests, including four killed, some 30 injured in grenade attacks 22 June. UN human rights chief Zeid 9 June warned increasing violence by Imbonerakure youth militia destabilising country. VP Gervais Rufyikiri 25 June and head of parliament Pie Ntavyohanyuma 28 June defected, fled country; latter said he received death threats after criticising President Nkurunziza’s third term bid.
| 1 Jun 2015
Protests against President Nkurunziza’s run for third term continued amid deepening repression and insecurity. Seventeen officers arrested 14 May following failed coup attempt led by former army Major General Godefroid Niyombare, who fled country. Civil society-led protests continued as violence intensified: some 30 killed, 600 arrested in police crackdown; three killed 22 May in grenade attack on Bujumbura market. Amid increasing antagonism within security forces, soldier reportedly shot by police 20 May. Dialogue between protesters and govt began 23 May, opposition leader Zedi Feruzi shot, killed same day; opposition accused police, 25 May suspended dialogue for three days, 27 May said free, fair elections “impossible”. Govt reshuffle 18 May replaced three ministers, violating power-sharing agreement between military old guard and ruling CNDD-FDD. EU and Belgium 11 May halted election aid; Belgium 21 May threatened to halt all govt-to-govt aid if Nkurunziza runs. Govt 26 May asked Burundians for donations to fund elections; EU 28 May suspended its election monitoring mission, withdrew poll observers amid security concerns. East African Community (EAC) 31 May held summit on Burundi, called for postponement of elections, political dialogue about Nkurunziza’s candidacy. Nkurunziza 20 May signed decree postponing municipal elections until 5 June, presidential polls to go ahead 26 June.
| 30 Apr 2015
Ruling CNDD-FDD 25 April officially announced President Nkurunziza’s candidacy in June presidential elections, expelled members opposed to his third term, removed from party leadership (“wisemen council”) second VP and national assembly chairman due to their opposition to candidacy. Senate 29 April referred Nkurunziza’s candidacy to constitutional court. Mass protests organised by civil society and some opposition parties turned violent 26 April; demonstrations ongoing, military deployed, at least six protesters killed. Govt 27 April closed several independent radio stations for broadcasting live from protests, 29 April blocked social media networks. UNSG 28 April condemned violence, called for investigation into deaths. Nkurunziza’s nomination came despite increasing domestic, international pressure earlier in month: hundreds protested 17 April; UN Human Rights chief Zeid 15 April expressed concerns after 12-15 April visit; UNSG same day also voiced concern, called for free and fair elections. Over 20,000 reported to have fled to Rwanda since mid-March fearing electoral violence, with number rapidly increasing after announcement of Nkurunziza’s candidacy.
| 1 Apr 2015
Increased social discontent, including 3 March general strike against high cost of living, and deepening political tensions over President Nkurunziza’s potential third term. Ruling CNDD-FDD meeting 11 March exposed discontent among party members: party leaders (“Wise Men Council”) 14 March opposed Nkurunziza’s presidential candidacy; CNDD-FDD President Nyabenda 24 March condemned petition against Nkurunziza’s third term signed by 73 of party’s senior executive, ten excluded from party next day. Former CNDD-FDD party leader Hussein Radjabu early March escaped jail, rumours he was aided by party officials. Party hardliners including generals and “Imbonerakure” youth movement reportedly organising terror campaign to support Nkurunziza’s candidacy: General Nshimirimana 7 March announced he would use “any means” to ensure Nkurunziza is CNDD-FDD candidate. Former intelligence chief’s wife and opposition National Liberation Forces (FNL) leader Agathon Rwasa’s wife survived assassination attempts 8 and 15 March respectively. Electoral commission (CENI) 21-23 March reopened voter registration.
| 2 Mar 2015
Domestic opposition to President Nkurunziza’s potential third term increased: coalition of civil society organisations 4 Feb published warning letter to president; 11 Feb said his candidacy will lead to violence. Head of intelligence service Godefroid Niyombare dismissed 18 Feb, allegedly for warning president of risk of violence should he attempt third term, replaced with Etienne Ntakirutimana 24 Feb. Journalist Bob Rugurika, arrested 20 Jan, released 19 Feb, greeted by thousands of sympathisers in Bujumbura. Human Rights Watch 12 Feb accused security forces, ruling party youth wing “Imbonerakure” of 47 extrajudicial executions during 30 Dec-3 Jan clash with armed group in Cibitoke province near DRC border. Pro-govt demonstrations throughout country 28 Feb, organised by authorities.
| 2 Feb 2015
Ahead of May/June elections opposition to President Nkurunziza’s potential third term intensified: former ruling CNDD-FDD Senator Richard Nimbesha 12 Jan said party gave Nkurunziza only two mandates. Opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) 11 Jan appointed Alexis Sinduhije as presidential candidate. Govt and National Electoral Commission 12 Jan boycotted official launch of UN Electoral Mission (MENUB) amid ongoing discussions over MENUB’s role and activities. CNDD-FDD spokesperson 29 Jan announced party open to compromise, seeking free and fair polls. Prominent radio journalist Bob Rugurika arrested 20 Jan after broadcasting investigative reports on Sept murder of Italian nuns.
| 5 Jan 2015
Eleven members of Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) elected by National Assembly in controversial process 3 Dec; majority allegedly close to President Nkurunziza and ruling party CNDD-FDD. Renewed tension between opposition and govt ahead of mid-2015 elections with allegations of irregularities in voter enrolment process, fraudulent registration, falsified IDs; opposition parties and civil society demanded new voter registration, resignation of electoral commission (CENI); CENI 26 Dec dismissed fraud as minor. Attacks reported in Bugunda, 60km north of Bujumbura 30 Dec; fourteen attackers from DRC reportedly killed, details unclear.
| 1 Dec 2014
Cabinet reshuffle 28 Nov saw chief of cabinet and head of secret services, both considered key allies of President Nkurunziza, replaced. Organisation of June 2015 elections criticised by opposition and civil society, with allegations municipal and provincial electoral commission are dominated by President Nkurunziza’s CNDD-FDD party, and concerns voter registration that began 24 Nov easily rigged. Cassam Utee appointed Special Envoy and Head of UN electoral mission to Burundi, early electoral observation mission to start 1 Jan 2015. Security deteriorated in Bujumbura: several attacks by armed gangs throughout month; govt 3 Nov warned of Al-Shabaab threat, two arrested.
| 1 Nov 2014
Presence of Burundian army in S Kivu (DRC) confirmed 2 Oct by MONUSCO, reportedly fighting National Liberation Forces (FNL) rebels; reports army withdrew 7 Oct. FNL claimed responsibility for 6 Oct attack on Burundian troops in Gihanga, casualty numbers disputed. Provincial electoral commissions lists published 1 Oct; civil society and several political parties alleged members purportedly representing them in fact close to ruling party.
| 1 Oct 2014
Human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, arrested 15 May, granted conditional release 29 Sept due old age, ill-health; transferred to private hospital. Release followed international pressure, including EU threat of sanctions; France’s call for release; visit by UN Office in Burundi (BNUB) human rights officials. Leone Ngendakumana, president of opposition coalition ADC-Ikibiri, appeared in court 2 Sept, accused of “damaging allegations, slanderous accusations and ethnic aversion” for Feb letter to UNSG Ban warning of risk of political violence and genocide.
| 1 Sep 2014
Ahead of 2015 presidential elections, President Nkurunziza still silent on rumoured intention to run; opposition UPRONA, FRODEBU still divided. As donor countries pledged financial electoral assistance, Netherlands ambassador Jolke Oppewal 1 Aug called for political parties reunification, political space, non-violence. Burundi and Rwanda authorities 25 Aug launched joint investigation following late Aug discovery of 5 corpses in north-western Lake Rweru; about 40 corpses reported by fishermen since July.
| 1 Aug 2014
Deputy and former chairman of opposition UPRONA Charles Nditije, excluded 30 June after internal power struggle, 12 July said he had survived assassination attempt in Bujumbura. Amnesty International 29 July published report denouncing shrinking political space in Burundi.
| 1 Jul 2014
Tensions between international community and govt continued: after 2 June statement by special envoys from U.S., AU, UN, EU criticising restrictions of political freedom, UN diplomat asked to leave country; decision later reversed. Despite international pressure, detention of human rights group APRODH chairman Pierre Claver Mbonimpa upheld by appeals court 9 June. Congolese NGO Journaliste en Danger (JED) alleged 2 journalists threatened by Burundian soldiers in S Kivu despite govt denial of Burundian presence in DR Congo; 9 soldiers reportedly killed 23 June by National Forces of Liberation (FNL) in S Kivu, DRC. President Nkurunziza 5 June suggested he could run for presidency in 2015 elections despite constitutional two-term limit. Political parties 9 June adopted code of good conduct ahead of 2015 polls.
| 1 Jun 2014
Political situation remained tense: head of human rights group APRODH Pierre Claver Mbonimpa 6 May said CNDD-FDD youth league “Imbonerakure” receiving weapons and paramilitary training in Congo; Mbonimpa arrested and jailed 15 May, charged with endangering state security. Opposition Movement for Solidarity and Development (MSD) president Alexis Sinduhije detained 1 May in Brussels as result of arrest warrant and request for extradition issued by govt following March confrontation between MSD supporters and police; released 6 May. Political actors, parties met 20 May to discuss implementation of March 2013 electoral roadmap.
| 1 May 2014
UN mission BNUB internal report containing allegations that ruling CNDD-FDD is arming “Imbonerakure” youth league leaked early April. Govt demanded evidence or retraction of allegations, accused UN of spreading unfounded rumours, 17 April expelled BNUB security chief Paul Debbie. U.S. ambassador to UN and UK Foreign Office under sec state 8 April met President Nkurunziza, warned of risk of civil war, said those responsible for violence would face international prosecution. Parliament 25 April adopted new electoral code by consensus; opposition satisfied, civil society applauded but warned tension still high; BNUB commended as significant step forward. Opposition Alliance of Democrats for Change (ADC-Ikibiri) chairman arrested 20 April for sending letter criticising govt to UNSG. Govt 10 April banned 15 political parties; UNSC expressed concern over political tensions, restrictions on press and civil liberties. Ruling CNDD-FDD 17 April voted to launch commission on truth and reconciliation; coalition partners UPRONA and FRODEBU boycotted vote, civil society groups expressed concerns over commission composition. Agathon Rwasa called on his FNL party to reunite 2 wings ahead of 2015 elections.
| 1 Apr 2014
Tensions over 2015 election preparations continued: parliament 23 March rejected constitutional review; contradictory statements by ministers, media about candidacy of President Nkurunziza. Police 8 March clashed with thousands of opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) supporters protesting govt restrictions on political freedom; over a dozen protesters and 2 police injured. Govt 14 March suspended MSD for 4 months; public prosecutor issued arrest warrant for MSD leader; 69 demonstrators arrested. Court 21 March sentenced 21 protesters to life, 26 to prison terms. Former VP Frédéric Bamvuginyumvira, arrested Dec 2013, provisionally released 20 March. Dissident wing of FNL led by former commander Aloys Nzabampema attacked military bases close to capital early, mid-March; at least 2 killed.
| 1 Mar 2014
Relations between ruling CNDD-FDD and minority coalition partner UPRONA sharply deteriorated: first VP Busokoza from UPRONA dismissed 1 Feb after annulling govt’s decision to replace UPRONA chairman; all 3 UPRONA ministers resigned in protest 4-5 Feb. Reshuffle mid-Feb to replace UPRONA ministers highly contested, new UPRONA VP Prosper Banzombanza appointed 13 Feb without UPRONA majority support. 3 UPRONA activists arrested 16 Feb in police raid on party meeting; 5 injured. Former rebel opposition National Forces of Liberation (FNL) leader Agathon Rwasa warned political crisis risks sparking new unrest ahead of 2015 presidential election. UNSC 13 Feb unanimously renewed BNUB mandate until end of 2014.
| 1 Feb 2014
Constitutional Court 7 Jan partially invalidated provisions of controversial media-control law; Union of Burundian Journalists (UBJ) denounced restrictive measures still in effect. Opposition UPRONA 20 Jan declared intent to appeal to constitutional court over controversial land law passed in Dec. UNSG 28 Jan proposed renewal of BNUB mandate despite govt resistance.
| 2 Jan 2014
National Assembly held consultations with civil society and political parties 19-20 Dec to discuss constitutional review. Protest against constitutional amendment planned 9 Dec cancelled after 5 Dec arrest of prominent FRODEBU politician Frédéric Bamvuginyumvira on charges of attempted corruption; opposition denounced arrest as politically motivated. National Assembly 28 Dec passed controversial draft law on national commission on land and properties.
| 1 Dec 2013
New constitution draft sent to National Assembly for approval mid-Nov despite widespread opposition from civil society and opposition parties. UPRONA and FRODEBU Nyakuri and Batwa deputies 26 Nov asked govt to suspend draft bill, requesting wider consultations; FNL historical leader Agathon Rwasa 11 Nov called for March 2013 roadmap to be respected; civil society organisations 4 Nov launched protest campaign. 8 Alliance of Democrats for Change (ADC-Ikibiri) opposition coalition parties 24 Nov agreed to select common candidate and list for 2015 elections. Govt 7 Nov asked UNSC to close its office, BNUB, when current mandate expires.
| 1 Nov 2013
At least 5 wounded 6 Oct in street clashes in Gihanga between opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) supporters and ruling CNDD-FDD “Imbonerakure” youth wing; opposition, civil society expressed concern Imbonerakure becoming CNDD-FDD militia. VP Sinunguruza (UPRONA) resigned 14 Oct; President Nkurunziza 16 Oct appointed Bernard Busokoza (UPRONA) as replacement despite discontent within CNDD-FDD over his alleged role in 1993 coup. Journalist Hassan Ruvakuki, jailed on terrorism charges, granted conditional release 22 Oct. Police 6 Oct arrested 11 in Bujumbura in terrorist crackdown following Nairobi Westgate mall attack.
| 1 Oct 2013
Burundi Ruling CNDD-FFD announced changes to constitution
not necessary to allow President Nkurunziza to run again
as Nkurunziza only elected once via direct vote; civil society and
opposition denounced move. Public prosecutor 12 Sept announced
investigation opened into role of newly-returned opposition FNL
leader Agathon Rwasa in massacre of some 160 DRC refugees in
Aug 2004; several opposition parties said investigation politically
| 1 Sep 2013
Burundi Former rebel National Forces of Liberation (FNL) leader Agathon Rwasa returned from exile 6 Aug, reportedly to prepare for 2015 elections; police prevented Rwasa from addressing supporters. Rwasa 22 Aug rejected allegations he ordered 2004 massacre of Congolese Tutsi refugees in Gatumba. FNL-Miburo swiftly distanced itself from former leader.
| 1 Aug 2013
UN SRSG Parfait Onanga-Anyanga 22 July said Burundi making progress but still faces challenges including cross-border incursions, “mixed” human rights record; said past 6 months saw “significant” advances in political dialogue. President Nkurunziza 27 July announced Burundi ready to deploy peacekeeping troops to CAR.
| 1 Jul 2013
President Nkurunziza 4 June signed restrictive media-control law. 2 journalists summoned to court 11 and 13 June, first to reveal sources, second on charges of breaching national security. Iwacu newspaper online forum forced to close until 1 July. Another journalist arrested 13 June, accused of breaching national security, links to Congolese M23 rebels, later released. Tensions over land ownership continued following 31 May riots in Bujumbura; some 23 rioters arrested, 19 convicted 4 June, sentenced to 3 years’ jail for rebellion. National Land and Properties Commission accused by Tutsis of being biased towards Hutu refugees.
| 1 Jun 2013
Petition against proposed restrictive media-control law given to President Nkurunziza 6 May; Nkurunziza also under pressure from Burundi’s main international partners to review law. Alleged former FNL rebels 18 May ambushed bus in Gatumba, 15km from Bujumbura, killing 3. Govt and opposition met 22-25 May to discuss electoral code for 2015 polls in line with March UN-backed roadmap. Ruling CNDD-FDD 16 May denied creation of militia following reports of increasing violence against civil society and opponents by party’s youth movement Imbonerakure.
| 1 May 2013
National Assembly and Senate 29 April finished drafting controversial draft media law widely condemned as restrictive by press, UN, opposition and civil society. President Nkurunziza 9-12 April visited Iran, discussed economic support. Nkurunziza 13 April addressed ruling party leaders, warned against factionalism.
| 1 Apr 2013
UN-backed workshop on electoral process 11-13 March, attended by ruling party and opposition, agreed roadmap for 2015 polls including adoption of electoral code by Dec 2013. Journalist Hassan Ruvakuki, jailed since Nov 2011, granted provisional release 6 March. President Nkurunziza 10-12 March visited Paris, discussed intervention in Mali. 9 killed, some 40 wounded 12 March when followers of “Zebiya”, young woman claiming to have visions, clashed with police in Kayanza province; ministers of security and interior praised police, compared Zebiya followers to Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram. Following outcry at police brutality, comments by ministers, 3 policemen arrested. National Security Council 19 March declared Zebiya followers to be treated as outlaws.
| 1 Mar 2013
President of opposition National Council for Defence of Democracy (CNDD) 11 Feb announced plan to return from exile; president of opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD) early Feb also announced intention to return. Police 19 Feb used tear gas to disperse demonstration against imprisonment of journalist Hassan Ruvakuki, jailed since Nov 2011; protests held again 26 Feb. UN office in Burundi (BINUB) mid-Feb announced elections roadmap workshop to be held with govt and opposition 11-13 March. BINUB mandate extended to Feb 2014.
| 1 Feb 2013
National Forces of Liberation (FNL) rebel group members early Jan announced Agathon Rwasa, leader in exile, no longer head of group, sparking intra-FNL clashes in eastern DRC. Journalists 15 and 22 Jan demonstrated in Bujumbura against imprisonment of journalist Hassan Ruvakuki; life sentence against Ruvakuki reduced 8 Jan to 3 years after court dropped terrorism charges on appeal.
| 30 Dec 2012
Opposition Democratic Alliance for Change (ADC-Ikibiri) 5 Dec rejected new electoral commission, approved 4 Dec by National Assembly and Senate. President Nkurunziza 22 Dec announced postponement of Truth and Reconciliation Commission bill, will now be tabled early 2013.
| 1 Dec 2012
President Nkurunziza 10 Nov appointed new chiefs and deputies to police, army. Forced repatriation of 35,000 Burundian refugees from Tanzania that began 31 Oct continued throughout month, raising concerns over possible land disputes. Trial of RFA journalist Hassan Rucakuki continued with hearings 8-9 Nov; verdict expected Jan 2013. U.S. govt 8 Nov issued travel warning, said Burundi target of Somalia-based al-Shabaab militants. Cabinet 15 Nov adopted draft law on Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
| 1 Nov 2012
At least 1 army officer killed 4 Oct in clash with Burundi rebels near Uvira, eastern DRC; witnesses alleged army conducting joint operation with DRC army. At least 9 rebels reportedly killed 22-24 Oct in clashes with security forces in Cibitoke province, near DRC.
| 1 Oct 2012
Govt 14 Sept met with EU ambassadors, disputed existence of extrajudicial killings. Former rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL) military chief Aloys Nzampema 3 Sept announced creation of new FNL-Ubugabo burihabwa rebel group citing govt “policy of extermination of FNL members”, claimed responsibility for 2 Sept attack on military base outside Bujumbura. VP Sinunguruza 7 Sept attended Great Lakes summit in Kampala on security in DRC. Rising tension between Barundi, Bafulero communities in DRC late month caused refugee influx in Cibitoke province.
| 1 Sep 2012
Prosecutor general Valentin Bagorikunda 23 Aug said commission established to probe extrajudicial executions found no evidence of such killings. Prosecutor general Valentin Bagorikunda 23 Aug said commission established to probe extrajudicial executions found no evidence of such killings.
| 1 Aug 2012
Commission investigating extrajudicial killings 18 July ordered arrest of Gihanga chief of police, intelligence services officer. Court 24 July sentenced anti-graft activist to 5 years in prison for “false declarations” under anti-corruption law after 7 Feb letter in which he alleged judges paying bribes for appointments.
| 1 Jul 2012
Brussels public prosecutor 7 June announced investigation into money laundering accusations against Ombudsman Mohamed Rukara. Juvenal Havyarimana, MSD opposition party member kidnapped 29 May, found dead 5 June. APRODH prisoners’ rights group 6 June accused army of summarily executing Jean-Petit Nduwimana, former spy chief and alleged leader of rebel Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (FRD). Public prosecutor 12 June announced creation of commission to investigate extrajudicial executions; mandate includes identifying false accusations, raising concerns local NGOs, rights groups could be prosecuted. Journalist sentenced 21 June to life imprisonment for “terrorism”, journalist unions condemned trial as politically motivated. Army 24 June confirmed gunfight with armed group from DRC in Bubanza province, said 41 killed. UNSG Ban 7 June appointed Parfait Onanga-Anyanga as SR to Burundi. President Nkurunziza 27 June pardoned several thousand prisoners to mark 50th anniversary of independence, address prison overcrowding.
| 1 Jun 2012
Human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa late May reportedly discovered President Nkurunziza acquitted in 2011 by Supreme Court in total secrecy for 1998 atrocities, effectively awarding amnesty; Mbonimpa said move constitutes procedural irregularity as affair was supposed to be addressed in Truth and Reconciliation. Opposition ADC leaders, ruling party members, former heads of state, civil society met 28 May at leadership retreat, sparking hope for political dialogue. Army 4 May announced death of former Forces for National Liberation (FNL) commander Carmel, accused by govt of masterminding 2011 Gatumba bar massacre. Ombudsman Mohamed Rukara 9 May said plot to kill him uncovered, declined to release names. 14 sentenced to 10 years life imprisonment 22 May in connection with 2009 killing of anti-corruption activist.
| 1 May 2012
Trade union leaders early April denounced census of public administration put in place by Senate to reveal ethnic, regional or gender-based inequality. Chairman of UPRONA 13 April expressed concern at national land commission’s handling of land conflicts, alleged chairman favoured repatriated Hutus, demanded replacement. Rumours circulated mid-month that Colonel Kabirigi, leader of rebel Forces for the Restoration of Democracy (FRD) tortured, killed by security forces. 3 soldiers reportedly killed mid-April in Congolese part of Rukoko forest in clash between FNL and FARDC, supported by Burundi army; govt denies army present in South Kivu.
| 1 Apr 2012
Gunmen 7 March killed 2 police in clash at checkpoint, Bubanza province, 1 attacker killed. Despite govt warnings, threats, civil society and 2 labour unions organised strike 27 March to protest water, electricity costs, political elites not paying taxes. Pascal Nyabenda elected 31 March as head of ruling CNDD-FDD parliamentary coalition.
| 1 Mar 2012
Prominent anti-graft activist Faustin Ndikumana arrested 7 Feb after denouncing corruption in magistrates’ recruitment process; freed 21 Feb after 10 Burundian civil society groups 14 Feb called for release. EU ambassador 17 Feb expressed concern over human rights violations, said extrajudicial executions “intolerable”, situation remains “disturbing”. 2 opposition politicians released 17, 28 Feb. Appeal court 10 Feb deferred to beginning of March decision on defence petition suggesting judges not impartial in trial of 23, including journalist, charged with terrorism, connection to FRD rebel group.
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