UN experts report deepens Burundi crisis

Sunday February 7 2016

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni speaks at the end of talks between Burundi's rival political factions in Bujumbura on July 15, 2015. UN experts told the Security Council that Rwanda trained and armed refugees to oust Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza. PHOTO | AFP

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni speaks at the end of talks between Burundi's rival political factions in Bujumbura on July 15, 2015. UN experts told the Security Council that Rwanda trained and armed refugees to oust Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza. PHOTO | AFP 

By CIUGU MWAGIRU
More by this Author

Even with the political crisis in Burundi, the situation in the Great Lakes region has become more complicated after UN experts told the Security Council that Rwanda was destabilising her neighbour.

According to media reports, the experts said Rwanda had been recruiting Burundian refugees to oust President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The experts said Rwanda recruited and trained refugees from Burundi, among them children.

They said they spoke to 18 Burundian refugees who provided details of their training in a Rwandan camp.

ELECTIONS

The sensational report came even as aspiring presidents in several African countries embarked on campaigns for elections to be held from March through April.

Among elections to be held soon is the Central African Republic’s presidential runoff scheduled for next Sunday.

A recent presidential decree also said a December 30, 2015 parliamentary election whose results were annulled would be held alongside the presidential one on February 14.

In the meantime, campaigns for the Ugandan presidential election scheduled for February 18 have been heating up.

Amid frenzied moves by candidates to remove President Yoweri Museveni from power, observers predict that the incumbent will retain the presidency through any means.

The Republic of Congo will also hold a presidential election on March 20.

Whereas it is expected that President Dénis Sassou Nguesso will do the utmost to ensure he remains in power, there were moves last week by opponents to give him a run for his money.

The Pan-African Union for Social Democracy, has chosen Pascal Tsaty-Mabiala as its candidate.

Tsaty-Mabiala, 66,  is an MP and once served as Defence minister in the Pascal Lissouba government. 

Back to the Great Lakes, the report by UN experts can only become a spanner in the works in the already sour  relations between Rwanda and Burundi.

The report also appeared to reinforce claims by an American organisation last month that  Rwanda was involved in destabilising Burundi.

The refugees reportedly moved to Mahama camp in eastern Rwanda in May and June 2015, after which the efforts to recruit them began.