EU, Belgium warn nationals to evacuate Burundi, Africans outraged by Paris attacks’ media sensation

General Leonard Ngendakumana, one of the masterminds of the May 13 attempted coup is one of the four Burundians sanctioned by the European Union (EU)

General Leonard Ngendakumana, one of the masterminds of the May 13 attempted coup is one of the four Burundians sanctioned by the European Union (EU)

The deteriorating violence in Burundi is prompting Belgium and the European Union (EU) to advise citizens and staff to leave the East African conflict-torn nation.

The Belgium Foreign Ministry has said in a statement “We advise Belgians who are currently in Burundi and whose presence is not essential to leave the country as soon as normal measures allow.”

About 500 Belgians currently live and work in Burundi. Burundi gained independence from Belgium in 1962.

The European Union is also advising “non-essential” staff to get out the country or risk getting caught up in the escalating violence.

Belgium has suspended its aid to Burundi whereas the EU has sanctioned three officials in the Burundian government and one of the exiled leaders who took part in the May 13th failed coup for their role in perpetuating violence.

The deadly violence that was triggered by the ruling CNDD-FDD’s decision to nominate President Pierre Nkurunziza in April this year has lately increased and many experts are warning Burundi might be on the brink of a catastrophic civil war.

This week the UN Security Council issued a strong resolution condemning the turmoil and urging the government to expeditiously pursue inter-Burundi dialogue.

UN is also considering sending in peacekeeping troops to help halt the killings.

Meanwhile, regional leaders are fearing the deadly violence will affect the entire region.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda recently condemned the violence and urged leaders in Bujumbura to work together to end daily killings of civilians.

Echoing Kagame’s sentiments, Tanzania’s Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of East African Cooperation Amantius Msole said the “appalling violence has shaken the whole region, and it is holding up the stage-by-stage implementation of the integration process.”

Mr. Msole also indicated leaders in the region are working behind the scenes to bring the parties in the conflict to the negotiating table. The United States Envoy to the Great Lakes Region Tom Perriello was recently in Burundi and Uganda to consult with leaders on the efforts to end the violence.

President Yoweri Museveni was appointed as regional mediator of the stalled talks but no progress has been made.

Africans outraged by Burundi violence’s lack of media attention

In the wake of Paris terrorist attacks, and the global media attention they have garnered, many Africans have expressed their anguish on social media about the way the world has been captivated by Paris attacks and not by the deadly violence in Burundi.

“More than 200 Burundians have perished in the violence, I haven’t seen Facebook asking to change my profile picture to support Burundi and the people of Bujumbura, talk about all lives not being equal #WestandwithBurundi,” one Ugandan Joseph Mugisha wrote on his Facebook rebuking the social media giant’s move to encourage users to show solidarity with the French people following Friday’s deadly attacks in which 129 people died and more than 350 injured.‬