Situation In Burundi Sparks Concerns About Regional Implications

TheThe current crisis in Burundi began in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza made moves to extend his mandate to a third term despite the constitution’s two-term limit. He was re-elected in a process which Secretary of State John Kerry described as “deeply flawed,” which resulted in widespread protests that have not ended.

At least 240 people have been killed in Burundi since April, and tensions have increased after a senior government official was assassinated. Outside observers have also noted that security forces have started going door-to-door to confiscate weapons, which is increasing talk of a potential genocide.

The British Ambassador to the United Nations issued a warning last week of a “possible genocide” in the country.

As conditions have worsened, more Burundians are fleeing their homes amid the chaos which has resulted in at least 240 people being killed and over 200,000 have fled to neighbouring states during months of violence, according to Reuters.

While rumors of widespread brutality are growing, analysts have determined the violence has not reached the level of a genocide. However, the economic instability could have broader, regional implications.

“Regardless, the political situation has had an adverse impact on the economic fortunes of Burundi and will continue to do so. The IMF has forecast the country’s economy to contract by 7.2% in 2015, owing to declining tax revenue, a drop in key exports and foreign aid cuts (which account for 50% of the state budget),” writes Elliott Kratt, who notes that pending sanctions by the European Union, US and United Nations could inflict further economic pain.

U.N. Security Council’s unanimous decision Thursday to pass a resolution condemning the burgeoning crisis in the East African nation of Burundi points to the limited ability of the international community to stop a leader who is willing to risk destroying his own country, even after the international community has sounded the alarm to warn of a potential genocide.


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