Ongoing Violence in Burundi Raises Prospect of Outside Intervention

Ongoing Violence in Burundi Raises Prospect of Outside Intervention
Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza is sworn in for a third term in Bujumbura, Burundi, Aug. 20, 2015 (AP photo by Gildas Ngingo).

Three months after Burundi held its third elections since the end of its long civil war, violence has only deepened in the country. July’s fraught presidential vote took place in an environment tainted by government crackdowns and fear, and there has been an alarming upsurge in arrests, detentions and killings, with bodies found almost daily in the streets of Bujumbura, the capital. On Monday, President Pierre Nkurunziza warned that Burundians must give up any illegal firearms by Saturday, or risk being “dealt with as enemies of the nation.”

Burundi had already descended into crisis in April, following the announcement of Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term. Since then, targeted killings of key opposition figures have multiplied. In May, opposition leader Zedi Feruzi, who headed the opposition Union for Peace and Development party and was an outspoken critic of Nkurunziza’s third term, was killed in Bujumbura. In September, the party’s spokesman, Patrice Gahungu, was shot dead on his way home in Bujumbura. In October, the body of Charlotte Umugwaneza, an activist for the opposition Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (MSD), was found in the Gikoma River. Human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa survived his own assassination attempt in August.

Opposition figures, however, are not the only victims. Attacks on journalists have also grown in the past few months. Now, as a result, the majority of the opposition is outside of the country, and journalists are fleeing, leaving an information vacuum that social media has tried to fill.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review