The Rendon Group Snapshot Report – 11 January 2016

by TRG Alerts Admin on January 18, 2016

The Rendon Group


Each week The Rendon Group’s media analysts will focus on a different continent and a different issue affecting that continent. As always, we remain available to answer any questions you may have and to provide additional information upon request. For more information regarding The Rendon Group’s products and services, please contact us at or +1-202-745-4900.

Burundi Crisis Continues as Regional Negotiations Flounder

PAWA254, an activist organization, in Kenya’s capital Nairobi 20DEC15. (Reuters)

This week’s snapshot focuses on the Burundi peace talks in neighboring Tanzania, with Uganda acting as mediator.  Following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial re-election in July of 2015,  Burundi has been beset by widespread unrest. As the situation intensifies, some observers have warned about the potential for outright civil war and genocide. Eager to avert such a scenario, African nations have been pressuring Burundi to accept a peace deal and international peacekeepers. However, neither the government nor the rebels appear willing to enter into serious negotiations.

News summary of events during the week of 04JAN16-10JAN16

  • 04JAN: Two explosive devices were thrown by people riding on motorcycles in the capital Bujumbura, injuring at least two people. (AlJazeera)

  • 05JAN: Foreign Ministry official Joseph Bangurambona has said his country will not attend peace talks with the opposition scheduled in Tanzania. (Reuters)

  • 05JAN: Ambassador to Uganda Jean Bosco Barege said his government has asked for more time to prepare for mediation by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni in Tanzania, rather than withdraw from the peace talks entirely. (AP)

  • 05JAN: Ugandan Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda told reporters here that there is no need to rush the talks before consensus is built among the parties. (Xinhua)

  • 06JAN: Government prosecutor Adolphe Manirakiza demanded that 28 men on trial for launching a failed coup be jailed for life. (AFP)

  • 06JAN: The ruling CNDD-FDD party called for close cooperation between the Ugandan facilitation in the peace talks and the National Inter-Burundian dialogue Commission (CNDI). (Xinhua)

  • 07JAN: Tanzanian authorities, at the center of the peace talks, said the Burundi government still supported the talks aimed at ending civil strife in the country. (Xinhua)

  • 08JAN: Lieutenant Colonel Edouard Nshimirimana, leader in the Republican Forces of Burundi (FOREBU), dismissed the possibility of peace talks with the government, vowing to oust President Pierre Nkurunziza from power “in a very short time.” (DPA)

  • 08JAN: Uganda warned Burundi to work with the African Union after Bujumbura threatened to attack AU peacekeepers if they were deployed. (AFP)

  • 08JAN: Crispus Kiyonga, the mediator of the peace talks between government and the opposition, told reporters that African leaders are set to investigate claims by Burundi that Rwanda is supporting rebels aiming to topple the government. (Xinhua)

Sample of Twitter handles tweeting about the Burundi crisis

  • @janetrmcknight – Janet McKnight, author, human rights attorney , Africa conflict analyst for Armed Conflict Location & Event Dataset

  • @AShingiro – Albert Shingiro, Ambassador Permanent Representative of the Republic of Burundi to United Nations

  • @Daniel_Finnan – Daniel Finnan, broadcast journalist specializing in Africa for Radio France Internationale

  • @wolterssteph – Stephanie Wolters, Central Africa analyst, journalist, head of the Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis programme at the ISS

  • @AU_Chergui – Smail Chergui, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Peace and Security

Sample of Third Party Validators regarding the Burundi crisis

Adama Dieng, Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, United Nations

“I am not saying that tomorrow there will be a genocide in Burundi, but there is a serious risk that if we do not stop the violence, this may end with a civil war, and following such a civil war, anything is possible.”

  • “ Burundi Crisis Escalates as Military Bases Attacked,” Foreign Policy, 11DEC15

Nina Wilén, Post-doctoral research fellow, Research and Teaching in International Politics (REPI) at the Université libre de Bruxelles; and Senior Associate, Security Governance Group

“Would the deployment of AU peacekeepers to Burundi actually help stabilize the  situation and resolve the political crisis? Since Burundi’s government has rejected the peace operation and threatened to treat the AU mission as a foreign invasion, that seems highly unlikely, without comprehensive political dialogue taking place first.  If there is no dialogue, an outside intervention could instead stoke a full-fledged civil war between supporters of Nkurunziza on one side and his opponents and the AU force on the other.”

  • ‘African Union Intervention Could Do More Harm Than Good in Burundi,’ WPR, 05JAN16

Phil Clark, Rwanda and Burundi expert and Reader in Comparative and International Politics, School of Oriental and African Studies (London, UK)

“The AU East African Standby Force has never fired a shot in anger. It is ill-prepared to deal with the magnitude of the situation in Burundi: it may even inflame the situation if Burundi sees this as military meddling by its neighbours.”

Stephanie Wolters, Central Africa specialist and head of conflict prevention, Institute for Security Studies (Pretoria, South Africa)

“It is important to note that the idea of deployment first has to be approved by the Burundian government.”

Thierry Vircoulon, project director for central Africa, International Crisis Group

“The candidacy of President Nkurunziza was very divisive, including in the security forces.”

  • “Defections from Burundi army highlight ethnic divisions amid looming threat of war,” US News & World Report, 30DEC15

Sample of open source research conducted by TRG analysts related to the Burundi crisis

1. EDITORIAL: The United Nations should support the African Union’s efforts in Burundi

Media: Washington Post

Byline: Editorial Board

Date: 04 January 2016

In a remarkable move last month, the African Union recommended the deployment of up to 5,000 peacekeeping troops to Burundi to prevent further bloodshed. The African nation has been in turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for an unconstitutional third term. Almost 400 people have died, and hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring Tanzania and Rwanda. The proposed African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi, called by its French acronym MAPROBU, would be deployed for six months to “contribute . . . to the protection of civilian populations under imminent threat” and if necessary, “the disarmament of militias and other illegal groups [and] the protection of political personalities.” This marks the first time the African Union has threatened to invoke Article 4(h) of its charter, giving the A.U. the right to intervene in a member state “in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Unsurprisingly, Burundi’s defiant government has rejected the proposal, with Mr. Nkurunziza declaring last week that a deployment would be considered an “attack on the country” and that Burundians “will stand up and fight against them.” The A.U. has insisted that it will continue to push for Burundi to allow troop deployment.

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2. Burundi’s Government Not Motivated to Act, Rights Groups Say

Media: Voice of America

Byline: Jill Craig

Date: 07 January 2016

Peace talks between Burundi’s government and opposition groups were supposed to be held Wednesday in Arusha, Tanzania, after discussions opened last month in Uganda.

But the talks were canceled, without being rescheduled — adding to the problems for a country that has been experiencing unrest since April.

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3. Burundi on the Brink of Civil War as Peace Talks Collapse

Media: Newsweek

Byline: Conor Gaffey

Date: 07 January 2016

Burundi is close to civil war, with genocide a real possibility, after the government refused to participate in peace talks with the opposition, according to experts.

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4. Burundi conflict deals new blow to street children living in misery

Media: Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA)

Byline: Sinikka Tarvainen

Date: 07 January 2016

Bujumbura (dpa) – The children seem to be everywhere in central Bujumbura – begging in parking bays, hawking plastic bags, walking the streets aimlessly and sleeping on folded cardboard boxes at night.

Many of the minors living on the streets of the Burundian capital appear to be less than 10 years old. Dressed in ragged clothes, often without shoes, they may carry even younger children on their backs.

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5. African leaders to probe reports of Rwanda supporting Burundi rebels: mediator

Media: Xinhua (China)

Byline: N/A

Date: 08 January 2016

KAMPALA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) — African leaders are set to investigate claims by Burundi that neighboring Rwanda is supporting rebels to topple the government.

Crispus Kiyonga, the mediator of the peace talks between government and the opposition told reporters on Friday that regional leaders during their imminent summit will investigate the claims which Rwanda has denied.

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