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Authorities and ruling party’s youth wing continued to repress opposition and relations between Burundi and Rwanda frayed further. Authorities in Mabayi, Cibitoke province in north west near Rwandan border night of 1-2 Dec arrested five members of main opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL) for collaborating with Rwandan army in alleged attack on military outposts in Mabayi mid-Nov. Youth wing of ruling party CNDD-FDD Imbonerakure 1-3 Dec assaulted five CNL members in Makamba and Mwaro provinces. Authorities 2-11 Dec arrested eighteen CNL members. Suspected Imbonerakure 12 Dec shot dead CNL member in Nyabiraba, Bujumbura province. Authorities 12-27 Dec arrested at least 26 CNL members including several who denounced irregularities in voter registration. National Intelligence Service (SNR) agents in Cibitoke province 22 Dec abducted two people and later reportedly executed both. At parliamentary meeting of regional bloc International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Bujumbura, Nkurunziza 6 Dec accused Rwanda of mid-Nov attack in Mabayi. At Burundi’s request, ICGLR deployed fact-finding mission to Burundi and Rwanda to verify attack, findings not yet released. Coalition of opposition parties in exile CNARED announced it would take part in May 2020 elections; sixteen opposition politicians who have lived in exile since 2015 poll returned to country 11 Dec. President Nkurunziza 20 Dec reiterated he would not stand for re-election. Govt mid-Dec temporarily blocked access to online video platform YouTube. Public prosecutor 30 Dec asked for fifteen-year sentence for four journalists and their driver arrested in Oct en route to report on clashes between military and rebels.
Security forces clashed with armed groups in north west near borders with DR Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, while govt and ruling party continued to repress opposition, targeting main opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL). Unidentified armed groups night of 7-8 Nov and 14 Nov reportedly crossed from Burundi into Rwanda and attacked military positions. Unidentified armed group night of 16-17 Nov attacked military outposts in Mabayi, Cibitoke province in north west killing nineteen; govt 28 Nov accused Rwandan army of attack and threatened to retaliate if Rwanda continued hostilities, Rwanda denied accusation. Rebel groups Burundian Revolutionary Front (FRB) and National Council for the Restoration of the Arusha Agreement (CNR) both claimed responsibility. Imbonerakure, youth wing of ruling party CNDD-FDD, 2-10 Nov assaulted and detained ten CNL members in Ruyigi and Kayanza provinces. Clashes between Imbonerakure and CNL members 10 Nov left one CNL member dead in Nyamurenza, Ngozi province; police subsequently arrested some 30 CNL activists. Local CNL women’s leader found dead in Kiganda, Muramvya province 12 Nov. Authorities 4-28 Nov arrested at least fourteen CNL supporters and son of opposition party FRODEBU’s deputy leader Ngendakumana, whom party 9 Nov elected as its candidate in 2020 presidential elections. CNL leader Agathon Rwasa 15 Nov said CNL would participate in 2020 elections despite intimidation of its members. In Moscow, FM Nibigira and Russian FM Lavrov agreed to strengthen relations 5 Nov.
Security forces clashed with armed militants in west near border with DR Congo (DRC), and authorities and ruling party continued to repress main opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL). In west, RED-TABARA rebels clashed with security forces in Musigati, Bubanza province 22 Oct, fighting reportedly left at least a dozen dead on each side; group same day temporarily abducted twenty civilians from Mpanda. Authorities 22 Oct arrested four journalists and their driver en route to report on clashes. Unidentified militants clashed with security forces and Imbonerakure, youth members of ruling party CNDD-FDD, night of 25-26 Oct in Bubanza and neighbouring Cibitoke province; four militants, three security force members and six Imbonerakure reportedly killed. Imbonerakure 4 Oct detained and handed over to police five CNL members in Rumonge, Rumonge province. Authorities arrested fourteen CNL activists in Busiga, Ngozi province 5 Oct after discovery of body of Imbonerakure. Court 8 Oct sentenced to life four Imbonerakure for Aug killing of CNL member. Police 9-17 Oct arrested five CNL members in several provinces. Clashes between Imbonerakure and CNL in Kirundo 10-16 Oct left four CNL and two Imbonerakure injured. CNL member 23 Oct found dead after Imbonerakure allegedly kidnapped him. Unidentified gunman late Oct attempted to kill local official prompting authorities to arrest at least 23 CNL in Bujumbura province. Executive secretary of coalition of opposition parties in exile CNARED-Giriteka visited country 5-11 Oct, met interior minister 7 Oct to prepare return of opposition politicians in exile. Burundi and Tanzania began to repatriate Burundian refugees from Tanzania despite rights groups’ claims that conditions not safe for return; some 600 refugees arrived in Gisuru, Ruyigi province 3 Oct. Burundi and Tanzania 12 Oct signed agreement allowing their police forces to conduct cross-border operations, including in refugee camps in Tanzania. Unidentified assailants 19 Oct kidnapped four Burundian refugees from Nduta camp; camp residents blamed Burundian police.