Burundian authorities have intensified an ethnically-driven purge of the army this year, risking renewed civil war in the central African nation, a French rights group said on Tuesday.
Conflict in Burundi would alarm global powers because the fortunes of the country are so intertwined with its neighbour, Rwanda, where 800,000 people were killed in a 1994 genocide.
The report by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is the first to shine a light on the impact of violence, which followed President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in April 2015, on the army.
The report said the purge of officers from the Tutsi ethnic group comes as Nkurunziza, a Hutu, consolidates power following violence that has killed at least 1,200 people.
“This … risks leading to the breakup of the army and pushing a number of soldiers toward a military opposition, which would be synonymous with a new civil war,” the report said.
The government in Bujumbura rejected the findings of the report.
– By REUTERS