Thousands Flee from Burundi to Rwanda in Response to Militia Intimidation
Over 22,000 have fleed from Burundi in response to youth militia intimidation in light of the protests over President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to stand a third term. Perceived by the people as a violation of the constitution and peace talks that ended previous ethnic tensions between the Tutsis and Hutus which killed an estimated 300,000, many began protesting in the streets of the capital, Bujumbura, and clashed with police. However, Nkurunziza and his supporters have stated that his first term simply does not count as he was not elected but, rather, selected by the parliament. Still, many are outraged and protesters are allegedly throwing rocks at security forces and building roadblocks. The police have responded with tear gas, water cannons, and live bullets. Reports say that the pro-president youth militia is targetting critics of the Nkurunziza in rural areas with violence, many people "disappearing". The government has disabled social media and private radio stations. Britain's Foreign Office has urged Burundi's government to not respond with violence and allow the protests, as well as to lift the hold on private radio. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, has sent Said Djinnit to Burundi. U.S. too has sent assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labour, Tom Malinowski, who urged "all actors to reject violence to safeguard the gains Burundi and its people have achieved since 2005”.
"Burundi: Thousands Flee to Rwanda as Protests Grip Capital before June Poll." Theguardian.com. The Guardian, n.d. Web. 3 May 2015. <http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/apr/30/burundi-election-violence-thousands-flee-rwanda-president-nkurunziza>.