Rwanda,Burundi cross border movement blocked as violence worsens

burundi refuges

Burundian refugees in Bugesera, Rwanda

Numbers of Burundian refugees fleeing to Rwanda are said to be decreasing while transporters between the countries have also been reportedly denied entrance or exit between the two borders as violence in the Burundian capital is now escalating

Rwanda Immigration officials who preferred anonymity say that the numbers of daily entrants through Nemba on the Rwanda-Burundi Border post in Bugesera district have declined. The officials attributed the drop in numbers to increasing violence on the Burundian side.

The fleeing Burundian refugees living in Gashora camp in Rwanda have accused the ruling party CNDD-FDD youth wing Imbonerakure of torture and persecution. The refugees say these youth militants target citizens who oppose President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for the third term, a move that has triggered massive protests.

“We are followed and beaten up by the Imbonerakure, Some of our friends have been drowned in the process but some of us managed to escape and we feel safer here” Jean Nepo Bahame, a former kindergarten teacher in Burundi said

As June’s presidential election draws closer, at least six people (including a local journalist)  have died in the violence between police and protestors. And hundreds have been arrested and media houses have been shut down, all these stern measures by the government haven’t deterred protestors who have vowed to march until president Nkurunziza drops his third term bid..

In the wake of this violence, the East African Community member states have been accused for not being able to intervene in the Burundian conflict, which is expected to increase as President Pierre Nkurunziza has made it clear that he will stand for the third term- which violates the Arusha Accord.

In the meantime, the US and UN have responded and condemned the current crisis in Burundi but also sent in their top diplomats hoping to influence the situation.

Tom Malinowski, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for democracy, human rights and labor arrived in Burundi Wednesday.

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, dispatched an envoy to Burundi as well. The UN Secretary General condemned the violence saying that those responsible should be held accountable, a statement from his spokesman read.