Rwanda: Alarm as unrest in Burundi increases flow of refugees

| May 11, 2015

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There are concerns in Rwanda about Burundi’s recent clampdown on political protests. Many Burundians are challenging President Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office.

Rwanda’s Foreign Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, says: “While we respect Burundi’s sovereignty in addressing internal matters, Rwanda considers the safety of [the] innocent population as a regional and international responsibility.”

Rwandan officials say that at least 24,000 Burundians have fled to Rwanda. The unrest in Burundi worries many Rwandans, who still remember the 800,000 people killed during the 1994 genocide.

Opponents of Mr. Nkurunziza accuse him of breaking the two-term limit established in the constitution. But his supporters argue that his first term was ratified by parliament, not by a popular vote.

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Photo: A protester carries a placard as they chant anti-government slogans during demonstrations against the ruling CNDD-FDD party’s decision to allow Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third five-year term in office, in Bujumbura, May 4, 2015. The placard reads, “The Arusha accord came by after alot of blood shed. We dont want more bloodshed.” Credit: REUTERS/Jean Pierre Aime Harerimana