Bloomberg News

Burundi Political Attacks Rise, Raising Impunity Fears, HRW Says

May 03, 2012

Clashes involving Burundi’s rival political groups that left scores of people dead since 2010 have yet to be fully investigated, raising concerns that impunity in the country is worsening, Human Rights Watch said.

The “tit-for-tat” politically motivated attacks between ruling-party supporters and pro-opposition followers surged after an election in 2010 that returned President Pierre Nkurunziza to power for a second term, the New York-based advocacy group said in an e-mailed report yesterday.

The worst violence came in September 2011, when 37 people were killed in a bar in Gatumba town. The trial for the case was unfair, amid claims by some defendants that they were tortured, and concluded after “just a few days,” HRW said. Most of the other reported murders remain unsolved, it said.

Burundi, a coffee-producing nation of 8 million people is recovering from a decade-long civil war in which 300,000 people died. Security has improved in Burundi since the beginning of this year, HRW said.

The Burundian government considers the report to be “misleading and subversive,” Interior Minister Edouard Nduwimana told reporters today in the capital, Bujumbura.

Nkurunziza leads the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy, whose members hold the majority of seats in parliament, while the opposition is the National Liberation Forces, known by its French acronym FNL.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah McGregor in Nairobi at smcgregor5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin in Johannesburg at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.


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