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Authorities and ruling party’s youth wing continued to repress opposition, in particular members of opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL), killing one. Security official 4 Sept reportedly tortured CNL member in Mwaro province and police 15 Sept arrested CNL member in Nyabikere commune. Imbonerakure, youth wing of ruling party CNDD-FDD, 1 Sept attacked CNL member and apprehended a dozen in Mutumba commune; 8 Sept attacked CNL member in Kayogoro commune; 22 Sept assaulted CNL member who next day died of injuries in Gihogazi commune; same day detained two CNL members in Mabanda commune in Makamba province; 23 Sept detained CNL member in Rumonge commune. Former members of coalition of opposition parties in exile CNARED-Giriteka 9 Sept created new opposition bloc, Coalition of the Burundian Opposition Forces for the Restoration of the Arusha Agreement (CFOR-Arusha); 12 Sept opposed holding of elections in current political climate. CNARED-Giriteka delegation sometime between 30 Aug and 2 Sept reportedly met govt officials in Kenyan capital Nairobi to discuss their return from exile. UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi 4 Sept released report highlighting human rights violations against opposition, identifying 2020 elections as potential trigger for violence; govt and ruling party officials denounced report. UN Human Rights Council 27 Sept prolonged Commission of Inquiry’s mandate for one more year. After Burundi and Tanzania agreed late Aug to repatriate Burundian refugees from Tanzania, NGO Amnesty International 6 Sept revealed official document suggesting repatriation would not be voluntary.
As 2020 elections loomed, govt and ruling party’s youth wing intensified repression of opposition, arresting and assaulting members of opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL), leaving one dead. Fighting between CNL members and supporters of ruling party National Council for the Defence of Democracy–Forces for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) in Buhinyuza, Muyinga province night of 2 Aug left five CNL members injured. CNDD-FDD youth wing Imbonerakure 9 Aug “arrested” and handed over to police thirteen CNL members preparing to open party office in Butaganzwa, Ruyigi province. Police 13 Aug arrested four CNL members in Bwambarangwe, Kirundo province. Imbonerakure 13 Aug attacked CNL members in Gasorwe, Muyinga province leaving four injured; 18 Aug attacked opening of CNL office in Muha, Bujumbura Mairie province leaving ten people injured; night of 18-19 Aug ambushed CNL members in Rugari, Muyinga province killing one. Clashes broke out 25 Aug between Imbonerakure and CNL members in Mbimbi, Bujumbura province leaving five Imbonerakure injured; one died of injuries next day. Coalition of opposition parties and individual politicians in exile CNARED Giriteka 4 Aug announced it would participate in 2020 elections and called on govt to engage in dialogue with internal and external opposition. Govt 16 Aug said politicians in exile could return, but those under arrest warrants would be brought to justice. President Nkurunziza 20 Aug reiterated his intention not to run in 2020 elections. Govt 25 Aug signed agreement with Tanzania to start repatriating in Oct some 200,000 Burundian refugees from Tanzania, who fled there following violence in 2015. UN refugee agency 28 Aug described conditions in Burundi as unfavourable for return.
Authorities continued clampdown on opposition and France revealed it had resumed bilateral support to govt in late 2018. Security forces 3-25 July arrested at least 49 supporters of leading opposition party National Congress for Freedom in multiple provinces including Rumonge, Bururi, Gitega and Kirundo. Security forces 11 July reportedly executed two opposition party members in Gihanga, Bubanza province. Youth wing of ruling party CNDD-FDD Imbonerakure also continued to assault opposition supporters. UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi 2 July said fair and transparent elections could not be held in 2020 in current conditions of shrinking democratic space. President Nkurunziza 3 July appointed former leader of Imbonerakure to head of national broadcaster. After govt withdrew BBC’s license to operate in country in March, BBC 16 July said it would close its bureau and operations in Burundi after failing to reach agreement with govt. French ambassador to Burundi 12 July revealed France had resumed bilateral support to govt late 2018 in defence and education sectors having severed cooperation following Nkurunziza’s 2015 decision to run for third term, and encouraged govt to maintain current “positive dynamic” by ensuring all parties can take part in elections set for May 2020.