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CrisisWatch Burundi

Unchanged Situation

Authorities stepped up repression of political opponents amid tensions within ruling party over suspension of foreign mining operations. In south, ruling party CNDD-FDD youth wing Imbonerakure 1 Aug seized two members of main opposition party National Congress for Freedom (CNL) in Muhuta commune, Rumonge province. In Rutana province, Imbonerakure 11 Aug reportedly attacked CNL party representative Pierre Ndayisaba and his brother in Giharo commune; next day over 50 Imbonerakure brought Ndayisaba to police station; Ndayisaba later transferred to Rutana prison. Police 13 Aug arrested three CNL members in Kayogoro commune, Makamba province, and seized funds they were collecting for construction of party headquarters, before releasing them 16 Aug without returning funds. In north east, Imbonerakure 5 Aug reportedly vandalised CNL office in Ruhororo commune, Ngozi province; authorities same day detained two CNL members in Gitobe commune, Kirundo province, releasing them 14 Aug. In north west, residents in Cibitoke province’s Bukinanyana commune 13 Aug reported Imbonerakure night patrols amid concerns among local CNL members that ruling party is inciting youth wing to step up attacks against them; CNL activist also reportedly abducted 15-16 Aug by National Intelligence Services head, in Rugombo commune. In centre, intelligence officials 9 Aug detained three CNL members in Mwaro province’s Kayokwe commune, before releasing them 10 and 13 Aug. In Karusi province, Imbonerakure 28 Aug reportedly seized six CNL members in Shombo commune. Security forces 16 Aug arrested seven individuals, including one Rwandan, for allegedly collaborating with Kinyarwanda-speaking armed group in Mabayi commune, Citiboke province. Meanwhile, risk of instability within CNDD-FDD persisted over late June-early July suspension of all foreign mining operations pending ongoing renegotiation of mining contracts with state.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

29 Jul 2020
We should not expect spectacular reversals. Ndayishimiye is himself a product of the CNDD-FDD system and… must ensure the loyalty of the executives who were not necessarily in favour of his designation. The New Humanitarian

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
8 Jul 2020
This could be a first sign that [Ndayishimiye] will be able to take decisions that will not blindly follow in his predecessor's steps. Deutsche Welle

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi
20 Aug 2019
[In Burundi] the government is pushing back on international pressure, trying to convince international actors that everything is alright. Meanwhile, its population is suffering in silence. The New Humanitarian

Nelleke van de Walle

Deputy Project Director, Central Africa
7 Nov 2016
Mobile phones and social media maintain a link between many of Burundi’s constituent parts that appear steadily more remote and disconnected: the diaspora and the refugee camps, capital city and rural areas, Burundi and the rest of the world. The Guardian

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
11 Oct 2016
The only thing that's important now, the only card to play at the moment, is to try and convince the neighbouring countries to put pressure on Burundi [to end the escalating violence]. RFI

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa
23 Sep 2016
Le discours de Bujumbura est un piège qui se referme sur lui. Iwacu

Thierry Vircoulon

Former Senior Consultant, Central Africa

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

De-escalating Tensions in the Great Lakes

President Tshisekedi’s plans for joint operations with DR Congo’s belligerent eastern neighbours against its rebels risks regional proxy warfare. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to encourage diplomatic efforts in the region and Tshisekedi to shelve his plan for the joint operations.

Briefing / Africa

Averting Proxy Wars in the Eastern DR Congo and Great Lakes

Three Great Lakes states – Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda – are trading charges of subversion, each accusing another of sponsoring rebels based in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. Outside powers should help the Congolese president resolve these tensions, lest a lethal multi-sided melee ensue.

Also available in Français, Português
Op-Ed / Africa

AU Heads of State Summit needs to whip Nkurunziza back into line

African heads of state should press Burundi to open the political space, in particular letting opposition politicians campaign freely and safely and allowing in international observers, in order to prevent a reprise of past violence or worse.

Originally published in The East African

Report / Africa

Running Out of Options in Burundi

Talks about ending Burundi’s crisis – sparked by the president’s decision to seek a third term – have fizzled out. With elections nearing in 2020, tensions could flare. Strong regional pressure is needed to begin opening up the country’s political space before the balloting.

Also available in Français
Commentary / Africa

Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2019

In 2019, the African Union faces many challenges, with conflicts old and new simmering across the continent. To help resolve these crises – our annual survey lists seven particularly pressing ones – the regional organisation should also push ahead with institutional reforms.

Also available in Français

Our People

Onesphore Sematumba

Analyst, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi