Burundi demanded all guns be confiscated, and this happens…

 In Foreign, opinion, Politics

Burundi is a small African nation whose President has decided to crack down on “illegal” guns. President Pierre Nkurunziza gave his nation a deadline of Saturday night to turn in their weapons or be “dealt with as enemies of the nation.” Plus, violence began spiking in April and has continued nonstop upward since. But other nations are concerned this “5 days” ultimatum will spark even more violence.

 Burundi demanded

A Burundi “rebel” turns in his weapons after their civil war- photo via D+C

Burundi demanded guns be turned in

President Nkurunziza sought a third term as head of Burundi, although there is a legal two term limit in the nation. He’s telling people that his first term “didn’t count,” because he was chosen for the job, not elected. He was elected to that 3rd term in July, with 70% of the vote. But it was a disputed election,and critics called his move unconstitutional.  At least 200 people have been killed since April when Nkurunziza said he wanted to be President again.

Since that disputed election, there have been protests and violence in the country.

And then…the gun ultimatum issue arose. People are leaving in droves, fearing a genocide may happen.

The U.N. is concerned about the way he is telling people they will be dealt with as enemies, because the rhetoric is “chillingly similar” to the words used just prior to the Rwanda Genocide in 1994.

Rwanda lost 70% of its Tutsi population in the genocide. Burundi came out of a devastating civil war 10 years ago that took 300,000 lives between the Hutus and the Tutsis. Many of the rebels turned over their arms after that war. Now, Burundi is just 14% Tutsi, and 85%Hutu, which leaves a small population vulnerable.  Cibitoke and Mutakura, neighborhoods in the Capital of Bujumbura, have seen dozens of residents leaving.

“Now I decide to leave as everyone is leaving…There is fear everywhere. But I still believe in God and all this will end.” An elderly Mutakura resident

Recent violence

The BBC reported,

On Friday, the body of Welly Nzitonda, the son of a leading human rights activist, was discovered.
UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein said the killing, which he called an assassination, “reinforces fears that there is a systematic policy of targeting members of the opposition, journalists, human rights defenders and ordinary citizens perceived to be opposing the government.”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the discovery of bodies in Bujumbura was now a regular occurrence – and many victims showed evidence of summary execution.
Mr Ban said Burundian authorities had a responsibility to protect civilians.
The International Crisis Group and others were commenting on remarks by Burundi’s Senate President Reverien Ndikuriyo – who threatened to “pulverise” opponents who did not lay down arms.

“You have to pulverise, you have to exterminate – these people are only good for dying. I give you this order, go!” Reverien Ndikuriyo

Samantha Power, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. has called for unfettered access for human rights groups to Burundi in the wake of this spike in violence.

The East African wrote,

Power demanded that the government immediately allow African Union human rights and security monitors unfettered access to the country and to act on its commitment to take part in internationally mediated dialogue to bring stability to the country.

Fleeing ahead of disaster

Burundians are an entirely different base of people fro Americans. But many are leaving their homes in a country that could erupt in genocide at any time. Their President wants all guns out of the hands of anyone who opposes him. The UN Security council is set to talk about the situation on Monday.

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