CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 80 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.
President Ndayishimiye continued to take steps to consolidate his rule and turned hostile toward neighbouring Rwanda. In session boycotted by main opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL), National Assembly 7 Aug elected new bureau: ruling party CNDD-FDD hardliner Daniel Gélase Ndabirabe appointed as president. Crackdown on opposition and civil society continued. CNDD-FDD youth wing Imbonerakure 11 Aug arrested two CNL members in Mabayi commune, Cibitoke province, for allegedly vandalising CNDD-FDD property, and next day detained CNL member in Kanyosha commune, Bujumbura Rural province, on grounds of “insult to the head of state”. Suspected Imbonerakure 15 Aug threw grenade at house in Bukemba commune, Rutana province, killing four; CNL representatives said attack was targeted at party member. Police 25 Aug detained two CNL members in Kanyosha commune for allegedly belonging to armed group. Kayanza High Court 9 Aug sentenced three young individuals to 30 years in prison on charges of “attack and conspiracy against the head of state” after they allegedly threw rocks at president’s convoy in Kayanza province 5 Aug; civil society immediately denounced “politically motivated” decision in run-up to 24 Aug communal elections. Suspected members of Burundian rebel group Red-Tabara crossing from neighbouring DR Congo 23 Aug reportedly killed 11 civilians in Bugarama commune, Rumonge province; security forces killed five assailants. After Rwandan President Kagame in recent months stated willingness to improve relations with Burundi, Ndayishimiye 6 Aug said Burundi does not want relations with “hypocrite state” holding Burundian refugees hostage; statement follows late-July claim by five Burundian refugees that Rwanda is preventing their repatriation. Rwandan govt 12 Aug said it is ready to facilitate refugee returns but Burundi unwilling to mend ties. First group of 500 refugees returned to Burundi 27 Aug. Military intelligence chiefs from Rwanda and Burundi 26 Aug met at Nemba border post in Rwanda, agreed to cooperate on border security; first high-level meeting between neighbours since 2015.
New President Ndayishimiye continued to establish his power, while relations with international community and neighbouring Rwanda showed potential for improvement. Senate 11 July approved 18 provincial governors appointed by Ndayishimiye, including five senior army and police officers; appointment of defence and security officials as governors a first in 20 years. Coalition of opposition-in-exile 6 July condemned lack of representation of ethnic Tutsi minority in govt formed in June and among governors, with only one Tutsi minister and three Tutsi governors. Municipal councillors 20 July elected 36 senators, including 34 from ruling party CNDD-FDD. Meanwhile, opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL) and civil society members continued to face repression and acts of vandalism. Security forces 9 July briefly detained three independent media IWACU journalists after they published interview with civil society leader Terence Mushano; same day arrested Mushano on charges of “threatening public safety”; Mushano released 15 July. Intelligence services 6 and 16 July arrested three CNL municipal councillors in Muhuta municipality, Rumonge province, reportedly to prevent their participation in 20 July senatorial elections. Suspected CNDD-FDD youth wing Imbonerakure 15-16 July destroyed CNL office in Gihanga township, Bubanza province. Unidentified assailants 16 July kidnapped local CNL politician’s daughter in Ntahangwa commune, Bujumbura Mairie province, released her next day. Despite Ndayishimiye’s critical stance on cooperation with international community in June inauguration speech, govt relations with international organisations showed potential for improvement. Ndayishimiye 1 July met with former U.S. special envoy to Great Lakes region. Infrastructure minister 14 July met with EU ambassador to discuss resumption of EU support for infrastructure projects. Rwandan President Kagame 10 July said he was “ready to work with President Ndayishimiye”. In major shift in national response to COVID-19, Ndayishimiye 1 July declared pandemic to be Burundi’s “biggest enemy” at present; authorities 6 July launched countrywide testing campaign; land borders to reopen 1 Aug.
Inauguration of President-elect Ndayishimiye was fast-tracked following sudden death of incumbent President Nkurunziza, opposition continued to suffer repression from ruling party’s youth wing, and relations with Rwanda remained tense. Constitutional Court 4 June rejected presidential election runner-up Agathon Rwasa’s May appeal against provisional results and confirmed ruling party CNDD-FDD candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye as winner. Rwasa next day accepted decision and said he would not bring case before East African Community’s Court of Justice. With new president due to take office in Aug, death of President Nkurunziza 8 June created power vacuum. While some within CNDD-FDD called for National Assembly President Pascal Nyabenda to become interim president as foreseen by Constitution, govt 11 June asked Constitutional Court for guidance; Court next day ruled that President-elect Ndayishimiye should be sworn in immediately. In inauguration speech in capital Gitega 18 June, Ndayishimiye promised to carry on legacy of his predecessor. In session boycotted by opposition, National Assembly 23 June approved nomination of Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni as PM and Prosper Bazombanza as VP; Ndayishimiye 28 June appointed cabinet of 15 ministers dominated by regime hardliners; both Bunyoni and Interior Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca under international sanctions for alleged involvement in political repression and violence against civilians since 2015. Meanwhile, CNDD-FDD youth wing Imbonerakure continued to repress members of Rwasa’s National Congress for Freedom (CNL) party. Notably, Imbonerakure 10 June reportedly captured three CNL members whom they accused of celebrating Nkurunziza’s death in Citiboke province. Although Rwandan President Kagame congratulated Ndayishimiye for electoral victory 6 June and offered condolences over Nkurunziza’s death 10 June, reportedly his first public statements on Burundi since 2015, Burundi-Rwanda relations remained tense. Rwandan Defence Ministry 27 June said around 100 armed men from Burundi, some equipped with Burundian army material, attacked Rwandan Defence Forces in Ruheru sector near Burundian border; Burundi govt same day rejected accusation (see also Rwanda).