Watch Update 78

2020 elections funding begins
With no hope of genuine peace process to end the crisis griping Burundi and with the economy in shambles following the sanctions on the government, President Pierre Nkurunziza seems all determined to have the 2020 general elections as his own business. Mr Nkurunziza whose controversial third term triggered the crisis recently initiated the amendment of the constitution aimed at removing term limits from the constitution and allow him to run for the fourth term. In the same vein, Nkurunziza has launched a fundraising campaign aimed at securing funds necessary for the 2020 general elections. On 8 August 2017, he deposited BIF 5 million in an account opened in the central bank for purposes of fundraising for the 2020 elections.
He called on Burundians to finance the 2020 general elections themselves. Following the launching of the fundraising campaign, many people began to be asked to “contribute” at the behest of the administration with the support of Imbonerakure militia. Many contend that this moves to a forced contribution and everyone will be forced to pay as they fear retaliation.

Ombudsman’s quick shift
Over the past two months, the renown CNDD-FDD militant and former minister of home affairs Edouard Nduwimana who became the Ombudsman initiated several acts aimed at peace process in Burundi. One such act was the lead during the Helsinki secret consultations with the opposition coalition CNARED1. However when he presented his biannual report to the National Assembly on 11 August 2017, he stated that during the Helsinki consultation, he never met the opposition coalition CNARED but politicians who fled the country. Yet in our Burundi Update number 77, we reported how Mr Nduwimana met the CNARED with the aim of initiating peace process with the opposition out of the country. The meeting was facilitated by the Conflict Management Initiative (CMI), a Finnish NGO started by former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari. The session brought together the government of Burundi and the opposition to make a step towards the peaceful settlement of the conflict in Burundi 1 See Burundi update watch n°77

Some of the reported cases of killings and grenade attacks include:

  • On 6 August 2017, a grenade attack on Nyamarumba hill, Munagano zone, in the District of Muyinga resulted in two children being killed.
  • On 7 August 2017, three dead bodies were recovered in the Ruhwa River by Burundi authorities who urgently decided to bury them without prior identification
  • On 8 August 2017, a grenade attack in Buyenzi, 7th street n°49 resulted in 6 persons being wounded
  • On 10 August 2017, one unidentified person was killed at Musagara hill in the District of Muramvya
  • On 10 August 2017, one unidentified dead body was recovered in Ndurumu River on Mutwana hill, in the District of Giharo commune. The body was beheaded and the rest tied up
  • On 10 August 2017, intensive gunfights were reported in Gatumba in the District of Mutimbuzi. The FNL Nzabampema who claimed the attack suggests that 3 National Defence Force members were killed

Arbitrary arrests and abductions
Some of the arrests and abductions that were reported during the period report:

  • On 4 August 2017, two persons, namely Jean-Paul Ndayishimiye and Honorine Hashazinka were arrested at Buhiga as they refused to take oath holding a national flag during a marriage celebration
  • On 5 August 2017, five FNL militants were arrested in Rusenda hill, in the District of Bukinanyana
  • On 7 August 2017, an estimated number of a hundred and fifty persons were arrested by the police in the city of Bujumbura, many of whom were street children, beggars and prostitutes
  • On 7 August 2017, Claude Nzeyimana and Jérôme Kwisesa were arrested in the District of Buganda by the NIS deputy chief in Cibitoke, Mr Anaclet Bikorimana
  • On 9 August 2017, Opposition UPRONA member Ladislas Ntahinyeretse was arrested in Buhiga and detained in Karusi as he was accused of illegally cutting trees in a forest. He was released on 10 August after paying a big fine of 3,400,000 BIF
  • On 9 August 2017, Apollinaire Mbazumutima, Israel and Nasra were arrested at Bukeye hill in the District of Kibago
  • On 12 August 2017, Justin Hatungimana was abducted from Ngozi and taken to unknown destinationOn 13 August 2017, Pastor Manassé Kazungu of the Pentecost church was arrested in Vyanda as he preached during a Sunday Service