Fear of civil war now grips Burundi as Army announces coup

Filed under: Breaking News,International News |
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Around midday on 13 May, Major General Niyombare Godefroid convened a press conference at a military barracks in which he dismissed President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is currently out of the country to attend a regional summit.

A presidential spokesperson has denied the claim, although social media reported that military troops had surrounded the state broadcaster and IHS confirms the telecommunications network in Burundi is partially offline.

After the governing CNDD-FDD party confirmed Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate on 25 April, violent protests broke out in various cities including the capital Bujumbura in which at least 21 people have been killed.

Various leaders within the CNDD-FDD party and all major opposition parties have expressed opposition to Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, which they claim violates both the constitution and the 2006 Arusha Peace Agreement that brought an end to Burundi’s 12-year civil war. The African Union and major foreign donors, some of which have already suspended budgetary support, have called for elections to be postponed.

While it is too early to confirm that the coup attempt has been successful, factional fighting between rival ethnic groups in the military and police is likely to erupt and increase the probability of a civil war.

The highest risk of ethnic fighting over the next few days will be in Bujumbura, overpopulated rural areas and internally displaced people’s camps along the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzanian borders.

The Imbonerakure, a youth militia affiliated to the CNDD-FDD, is likely to be deployed against ethnic Tutsi and to stage targeted political assassinations of Tutsi leaders and attacks on Tutsi groups. Retaliatory attacks by ethnic Tutsi are likely against government buildings and CNDD-FDD assets and supporters.

Expatriates or foreign assets are less likely targets. The intensifying ethnic violence will increase risk of death and injury to personnel based in Bujumbura. The violence is also likely to spread to southern and western regions, especially at internally displaced people camps and heavily populated rural locations.

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One Response to Fear of civil war now grips Burundi as Army announces coup

  1. when will africa change and its leaders accept democaritic change and constituionalism

    Selma Moya
    May 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm
    Reply

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