Several thousand protest in Burundi against fourth Arusha rendezvous

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Six civil society organisations believed to be close to the Burundi government regime organised protests in the capital Bujumbura and the second town Gitega on Saturday.

It was intended to protest against the fourth round of Burundi peace talks underway in Arusha, Tanzania, in which exiled members of the main Burundi opposition coalition CNARED are participating.

“Some of the participants to the dialogue are coup plotters and others are violent actors; they have to be arrested and brought to justice,” an organiser, Njangwa Becaud said.

On Friday, the Burundi government, which has boycotted the talks, also asked Tanzanian authorities to arrest some opposition participants to the dialogue.

However, executive secretary of the CNARED coalition Anicet Niyonkuru told reporters to be confident about the safety of the members of the coalition.

“We are under close surveillance since Friday. The facilitator assured us that nothing will happen to us during our stay in Arusha,” he said, adding that the request for arrests had “discredited the Burundi government.”

Niyonkuru said: “Many countries, especially the western ones, had received such a request but did nothing”.

The main question now is how will the partial agreement to be reached on Sunday be put into practice with the Burundi government, the main stakeholder, being absent.

The small impoverished country in the great lakes region has again been plunged into serious political crisis after President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in office in April 2015, despite the constitutional limit of two terms.

More than 300 000 people have fled to the neighbouring countries and nearly 1000 have reportedly been killed.

– By ANA