Gov’t returns to the negotiating table as Burundi violence and security concerns heighten

Burundians barricading themselves against the police/Photo by Bernard Bankukira

Burundians barricading themselves against the police/Photo by Bernard Bankukira

A day after the government and the ruling party refused to partake in political negotiations to end the Burundi conflict; they have made an about-turn and agreed to participate in the talks.

On Wednesday 24, the government delegated the Minister for Home Affairs, Edouard Nduwimana to join the UN, civil society, opposition and other regional stakeholders to chart the way forward for the talks.

24 hours ago, CNDD-FDD said they were are not ready to take part in the talks that would make them divert their focus from electoral campaign.

Meanwhile, this Wednesday morning violence broke out again in the capital Bujumbura as intense gunfire and grenade explosions were heard in the southern commune of Musaga.In other parts of the city the firing continued until 2 pm local time.

The gunfire and grenade detonations in Musago were preceded by a door to door police operation in the area seeking to “withdraw arms from the wrong hands” as residents used all kinds of rudimentary weapons (pans, sticks, stones and any objects they could set their hands on)  at their disposal to resist police searches.

This website has established streets leading to the area were heavily barricaded by bags filled with sand and pebbles.

These barriers managed to deter the police. Reports indicate that some police officers might have sustained injuries during clashes. Pierre Nkurikiye, the deputy spokesperson of the National Police force, said unknown criminals attacked a police station and that investigations are underway to identify the attackers.

Later in the afternoon, the military managed to dismount a grenade that was planted in in a street, 50 meters from Muha River separating the inner city neighborhood of Rohero and Musaga. For several hours, traffic along Bujumbura-Jenda highways was blocked.

Another attack targeting the police happened Tuesday night in Muhuta commune, in the newly formed province of Rumonge along the Lake Tanganyika. No casualties reported

Safety of journalists is also in jeopardy n Burundi  Diane Nininahazwe’s home was attacked, Wednesday evening. The Voice of America (VOA) AND Radio Bonesha journalist was forced into hiding.

She received threats via telephone following her coverage of abducted people in Bubanza province.

At a few days before the 29th communal and legislative polls, fear has gripped the country. Gaspard Baratuza, the army spokesman, says the military is well prepared to secure the elections.

“All what’s happening nowadays inspires us as a security body  to step up security across the country to secure the elections,” he said.