The East African nation of Burundi had regained some calm after President Pierre Nkurunziza returned to the country Friday. The country has been in turmoil since the President announced his intention to run for presidency for a third term.
Violence broke out in Burundi on April 26th after an announcement made by President Nkurunziza to run for a third term. Many took to the streets to protest his continuing presidential reign in the nation. He has been president since 2005 after the nation’s 12 year long civil war came to an end. President Nkurunziza states he is still viable to run for another term as his first term he was appointed to the presidency by the parliament.
He moved to court on the motion and the courts ruled in his favor and granted him the opportunity to run again. The opposition party and rights groups have stated it unconstitutional for him run for more than two terms. The ongoing violence has raised fears of a return of violence in Burundi that is still recovering from a 12 year civil war.
On Wednesday last week President Nkurunziza traveled to Tanzania to attend a regional conference when military leaders moved against his bid. An announcement was made that the president no longer held the presidential seat. Cheers were heard across Burundi as people printed out t-shirts and donned caps celebrating the liberation form President Nkurunziza’s rule.
The crackdown and arrests of those involved in the failed coup in Burundi began on Friday upon President Nkurunziza’s return to Burundi. Former Defense Minister General Cyrille Ndayyirukiye, Police Commissioners Zenon Ndabaneze and Hermenegilde Nimenya have already appeared before the court as some of those involved in the attempted coup against the current president.
Niyombare, a highly respected figure in Burundi was sacked from his intelligence position in February this year after he opposed Nkurunziza’s attempt to continue his 10 year in Burundi. President Nkurunziza thanked his supporters Friday. The media in Burundi is still silent as there are no radio stations carrying out broadcasts.
In light of the violence that has spread in Burundi comes what the UNHCR call a humanitarian crisis. Refugees have flooded neighboring countries fearing for their safety. 70,000 refugees have crossed over to Tanzania and at least 26,300 have entered Rwanda, many of them being women and girls according to reports. The violence has seen at least 20 people killed in clashes between the police and protesters and more than 105,000 people fleeing the country.