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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.
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.