With more than 400 dead and an escalation of violence, Burundi is not far from civil war.
This tiny East African nation is facing one of its worst political crises born of the announcement of a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Analysts says the crisis has the potential to escalate given the disagreements in the ranks of the army.
Yolande Bouka is a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies Nairobi. “It’s scary because the longer it lasts, the more likely that the conflict is rooted, that resources are depleted more and more. We are not quite sure that the army has remained a united force, but we know that there has been a lot of reshuffling of key positions in the army, which has enabled the government to more easily an armed force that meets its imperative, especially the executive.”
The current crisis pits the supporters of the president and the opposition. The government has conducted searches, arrests and summary executions according to the head of the human rights of the UN, Ra’ad Zeid Al Hussein.
The victims’ families have in the meantime been holding rallies to honor their dead.
In Nairobi, the students of the Catholic University are organizing vigils to show their solidarity with their comrades in Burundi. “I want to encourage all my friends to take the place that is theirs, because it is time for young people to stand up and speak, to be able to speak and share their views on what is happening in their country,” said Yoon Machali, a student.
The rejection of any mediation
The government in Bujumbura closed the door to the deployment of a peacekeeping force of 5,000 men to peace in the country. It was a refusal criticized by observers who see in deployment, viable solution after the failure of the East African Community to end the escalating violence.
The African Union has already warned that it will not tolerate “another genocide on African soil.” It is a position welcomed by Hallelujah Lulie, senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies Ethiopia. “The African Union has deployed various observer missions and military missions of observation, along with a mission of the African Commission on human rights and rights of the people was in Burundi to investigate human rights violations and its findings will soon be presented to the Peace and Security Council. I think these developments, could lead the AU in the right direction to respond to the crisis in Burundi for the moment.”
Uganda has also not hidden its desire to return to mediation in peace talks after the renewed violence which threatens a new civil war in this country of the Great Lakes region. Its goal is to encourage the African Union to impose a peacekeeping force for peace in Burundi.