CSOs urge EAC to deploy peacekeeping force in Burundi

 

Presidents Uhuru Kenyetta (L)of Kenya, and Jakaya Kikwete (R)of Tanzania at the Burundi Summit in Dar es Salaam, Sunday May 31st. Photo by Sylivester Domasa

Presidents Uhuru Kenyetta (L)of Kenya, and Jakaya Kikwete (R)of Tanzania at the Burundi Summit in Dar es Salaam, Sunday May 31st. Photo by Sylivester Domasa

A group of Civil Society Organisations representatives and human rights activists from Burundi who attended the just concluded heads of state emergency summit in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania appealed to the regional leaders to deploy peace keeping troops that will help protect the population.

Prof Christine Mbonyingingo, Chairperson for Global Movement of Burundi Women and Girls told the summit “police and all security organs in Burundi have been divided and can no longer protect citizens, they have turned to shooting civilians instead of protecting the people.”

CSOs appeal echoes that of two former Burundian presidents, Sylvestre Ntibantunganya and Domitien Ndayizeye. A week ago, both leaders requested EAC leaders to deploy peacekeepers to the conflict torn central Africa state.

The Burundian representatives also informed the summit communication is a challenge in their country as all private media outlets have been attacked and closed by the government agents.

Javier Bigirimana, a Burundian lawyer and human rights activist made it clear the “international community should understand that Burundians are suffering in silence because all independent media have been destroyed and cannot perform their traditional role which is to inform the public.”

Four independent radio stations have been attacked by government security forces, and their licenses have been revoked as “their role” in the recent failed coup is investigated.

Radio Bonesha, RPA, Isanganiro and Renaissance have been shut down.

The civil society organizations, and the opposition in Burundi, have pleaded with President Pierre Nkurunziza to drop his controversial third candidacy for peace to return to Burundi but the president hasn’t budged,

Burundian at the summit welcomed the initiatives taken by EAC heads of states urging president Nkurunzinza to respect the Arusha agreement and the country’s constitution, and an appeal to the Bujumbura government to postpone the elections, and for the CNDD-FDD youth militants; Imbonerakure to be disarmed.

President Nkurunziza skipped the summit.