Burundi: US calls for dialogue as gov’t vows to quash insurgency

Pascal Barandagiye, Home Affairs Minister (L), Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni Security Minister (C)and Defense Minister Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye pleading with the public to surrender weapons

Pascal Barandagiye, Home Affairs Minister (L),
Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni Security Minister (C)and Defense Minister Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye pleading with the public to surrender weapons

The US Government urges once again the Burundi government to engage political opposition in dialogue that builds on the spirit of Arusha Peace Accord so as to end violence and achieve lasting stability in the country.

In a press statement released Wednesday 2, the US state department Spokesperson John Kirby says the US Government calls on all political stakeholders in Burundi to get together to find a lasting solution to the current crisis in line with the 2000 Arusha Peace Agreement .

“We call on President Pierre Nkurunziza and his government, on opposition leaders, and on all the people of Burundi to join now in an open, comprehensive, and representative national dialogue to achieve a political solution by consensus that is consistent with Arusha,” reads the statement.

The US government has pledged its support to the regional efforts to resolve the crisis and urged the regional leadership to convene and mediate a political dialogue.

The United States maintains “continued high-level engagement by the African Union and the United Nations, and positive action by all states in the region, is critical to bring Burundi back from the path of violence.”

Kirby hailed President Pierre Nkurunziza’s recent call for unity and an end to violence but expressed concern about the role of the Imbonerakure in the politics of the country, Imbonerakure is the armed youth militia affiliated with the ruling party, and has been accused of torturing and killing protesters against the third term.

“Over the past year, Imbonerakure violence and intimidation have profoundly increased tensions and aggravated the crisis that has driven almost 200,000 Burundians to take refuge abroad,” says the US Department, calling the disarmament of the Imbonerakure and all militias to prevent further violence.

Meawhile, the government has asked all civilians illegally owning weapons used to destabilize security in the capital to surrender them on their own will, lack of which force will be used to retrieve them.

In a joint press conference held Thursday evening by the Ministers of Defense, of Security, and of Home Affairs, amid a massive search operation conducted in several parts of the capital Bujumbura, Pascal Barandagiye, Home Affairs Minister, ordered armed criminals to stop the barbaric violence and surrender those arms to security forces.

“If they fail to hand back their weapons, we urge defense and security forces to use all means authorized by law to withdraw them all, and this within three weeks,” Mr. Barandagiye said.

He promised that whoever willingly surrenders their arms will not face any charges.

The development comes a few days after grenade explosions and gunfire rocked the capital Bujumbura especially areas opposed to Nkurunziza’s controversial third term.

Musaga, Jabe, Nyakabiga Cibitoke and Mutakura neighborhoods were subjected to intense searches by the police, and in the process gunfire and grenade explosions broke out and three people were killed, and 15 suspects were arrested and ammunition and weapons were confiscated.