Monday, December 05, 2016

Burundi's descent into hell

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said Burundi's brutal regime has set the small central African country on a "descent into hell", warning of the risk of genocide.

In a 200-page report, the FIDH documented how state-sponsored violence and opposing rebel groups have perpetuated a cycle of violence. More than 1,000 people have died and up to 800 are missing. Some 8,000 are being held for political reasons and more than 300,000 people have fled the country
"The crackdown by the security services and the (ruling party's youth wing) Imbonerakure... aims primarily at retaining power through any and all means," the report said. "All the criteria and conditions for the perpetrating of genocide are in place," the report said, listing "ideology, intent, security institutions... identifying populations to be eliminated, and the using of historical justifications."

Anschaire Nikoyagize, of the rights group, ITEKA League,said in a statement: "The crimes of the regime have become systematic... Crimes against humanity are occurring and there is a risk of genocide."

Burundi suffered a brutal civil war from 1993 until 2006 between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, which claimed an estimated 300,000 lives.

A failed coup in May 2015 was the "breaking point" after which the authorities adopted a "logic of systematic repression", the report said. After Nkurunziza's re-election in July 2015, the repression deepened, it said, citing targeted killings and massive arbitrary detentions. In addition, ethnic Hutus in power "have sought to turn a political crisis into an ethnic one, equating 'opponents' and 'rebels' with Tutsis," the report warned.

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