Wednesday 18 October 2017
(Xinhuanet 07/03/17)
Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza Saturday urged its former colonizers Germany and Belgium to pay compensations to the country for damages caused during the colonial rule. The remarks were made at Prince Louis Rwagasore stadium in the capital Bujumbura during the celebration of the east African country's 55th independence anniversary. "Burundi's former colonial powers (Germany and Belgium) should admit atrocities made on Burundi and its people during the colonial rule. They should then apologize for those atrocities and compensate us (Burundi)," Nkurunziza said at the independence anniversary celebrations. Nkurunziza underlined that ...
(AFP (eng) 06/30/17)
After five years of legal limbo, the remains of Burundi's deposed king Mwambutsa IV, who died 40 years ago, were reburied in Switzerland on Friday. The small, intimate ceremony in a Geneva cemetery was conducted under police protection, the ATS news agency reported. Mwambutsa led Burundi at independence from Belgium in 1962, but was deposed just four years later in a dispute linked to rivalries between ethnic Tutsis and Hutus, which still haunt the country. The monarch died in Switzerland in 1977, leaving clear instructions that his remains should never be returned to Burundi. But his daughter and the Burundian government campaigned for his remains to be repatriated, reportedly hoping to use the occasion to organise a ceremony promoting national...
(AFP (eng) 06/30/17)
Burundi on Thursday said it has "faith" in the new UN envoy to the crisis-hit country but warned Michel Kafando against "bias" in favour of opposition groups, an accusation also levelled at his predecessors. Appointed last month Kafando, a former president of Burkina Faso, is the fourth UN envoy to be named since June 2015 after the Burundian government objected to his predecessors. The envoy's key role is to mediate an end to a deep and sometimes violent political crisis that began in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term which he went on to win. However, the government refuses to negotiate with the exiled opposition, which it accuses of being...
(Xinhuanet 06/30/17)
The East African Community (EAC) leaders were on Tuesday urged to pool together and initiate dialogue with the Burundi leaders to end the stalemate in the country. Deo Hakizimana, President of the Independent Centre for Research and Initiatives for Dialogue (CIRID), a Geneva-based civil society organization, called on leaders of the regional bloc to work together to solve the stalemate through dialogue to save citizens from suffering. "The EAC is a respected strong bloc hence the need for the leaders in the region to strongly come out and engage the Burundian leadership and the opposition in solving the long standing misunderstanding in the country," Hakizimana said in Nairobi during the launch of Macky Sall Prize for Dialogue in Africa (PMSDA)...
(AFP (eng) 06/28/17)
The generic version of the most advanced drug against HIV has been introduced in Kenya, a first in Africa where more than 25 million have the disease, the NGO Unitaid said Wednesday. The drug, Dolutegravir (DTG) is the anti-retroviral drug of choice for those living with HIV in developed countries, but its high price has put it out of reach for most struggling with the disease in Africa. "The generic DTG has two advantages: on the one hand, it is very good from a pharmaceutical point of view. On the other hand, it is much cheaper," said Robert Matiru of Unitaid, which works to reduce the costs of medicines treating AIDS, tuberculosis or malaria. He described the drug as "the...
(Xinhuanet 06/27/17)
As the world Monday marked the international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking, Burundi pledged to import methadone to help the youth avoid drug abuse. "The Burundian public health and AIDS control ministry has understood that drug abuse is a health problem in Burundi. It is for this reason that the (Burundian health) ministry is going to do its best to import methadone to help young people avoid drug abuse," said Innocent Nkurunziza, director of the Burundian national integrated program for the fight against non-transmissible chronic diseases. Methadone is used as a pain reliever and as part of drug addiction detoxification and maintenance programs. He was speaking in a ceremony organized by two local organizations committed in the fight...
(Xinhuanet 06/27/17)
The Confucius Institute in Burundi on Saturday evening organized a Chinese language proficiency competition where Burundian secondary school students showcased their language talent. The two best contestants in the competition held at the University of Burundi in Bujumbura will represent Burundi to compete with Chinese learners worldwide in China. "The competition brought together eight candidates from secondary schools that were selected after a general competition. Among those eight candidates, we have selected two candidates who will represent Burundi in the world competition in the Chinese language that will take place next summer in China," Joseph Nzeyimana, director of the Confucius Institute in Burundi said. He said the Chinese language is very important these days as it is spoken by at...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/23/17)
DAR ES SALAAM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Sadick Thenest remembers how his 8-year-old daughter had a narrow brush with death two years ago, when she contracted cholera after drinking contaminated water. “She was so gaunt, weak and had terrible diarrhea,” said the refugee from Burundi. “A slight delay in rushing her to hospital would have meant something else - but with God’s grace she survived.” The father of four, aged 35, is among thousands of refugees grappling with frequent outbreaks of waterborne diseases in the crowded Nyarugusu camp in western Tanzania, due to poor sanitation. “Living in a refugee camp is a constant struggle. You either stick to health rules or contract diseases,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by...
(The Associated Press 06/21/17)
KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) -- Rwanda's military says a 52-year-old woman has been killed in an attack by unknown gunmen in the southwestern district of Rusizi near the Burundi border. Rwandan military spokesman Col. Rene Ngendahimana says the attack occurred late Tuesday in the same area where gunmen killed two civilians in March and fled into Burundian territory. Ngendahimana says eight others were injured in this latest attack. He says it is not yet known whether the attackers came from Burundi. Relations between Rwanda and Burundi have been strained following allegations by Burundi's government that rebels opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza are being trained and armed in Rwanda.
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(AFP (eng) 06/16/17)
Malawi on Friday deplored the violent clashes reportedly taking place between rival ethnic groups from Rwanda and Burundi at a refugee camp near the capital Lilongwe, and said they must stop. There have been clashes in recent weeks between Tutsi and Hutu refugees from Rwanda and Burundi housed at Dzaleka refugee camp in Dowa district on the outskirts of Lilongwe, according to unconfirmed local media reports. "We as hosts are very disappointed with this behaviour. This must stop forthwith," Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Grace Chiumia said in a statement. "We are here to secure and protect you and when you start fighting because of grudges you have against each other back home, we as hosts are very disappointed...
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
Burundi security forces and government-allied militia are continuing to torture and kill opponents, UN investigators said Thursday, allegations denied by the government. The investigators from the UN's Commission of Inquiry on Burundi have been denied entry to the country said there was a "feeling of deep and widespread fear" in more than 470 testimonies gathered from people who had fled to neighbouring countries. "Today we can say that our initial fears concerning the scope and gravity of human rights violations and abuses in Burundi since April 2015 have been confirmed," the investigators said in a briefing to the Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday. Burundi's government angrily rejected the allegations. "We do not accept the content of this report,"...
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
One person was killed and nine others wounded when a grenade exploded in Bujumbura, in a neighbourhood of the capital known as an opposition bastion, the city's mayor said Thursday. "A grenade was thrown and exploded among a group of people who were having a beer near the bus station in Musaga," Freddy Mbonimpa told AFP of the incident which occurred on Wednesday evening. Witnesses said many police officers went to the scene with some seen firing their weapons. "Those were warning shots fired into the air," the mayor said, adding police had opened an investigation "to find the criminals behind this attack". Musaga, in the south of the city, is a bastion of opposition where protests erupted two years...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/15/17)
GENEVA (Reuters) - Burundian security forces and allied militia are still abducting, torturing and killing people with almost total impunity, U.N. investigators said on Thursday, an accusation fiercely denied by Burundi. Burundi, a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, has failed to reply to their letters to the foreign minister and they therefore have no access to the central African country where abuses are "rarely prosecuted", they said. Burundi's U.N. ambassador Rénovat Tabu said the allegations were "partial and tendentious" and that investigators were ignoring the government's efforts to restore peace and security. Burundi was plunged into chaos in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he planned to run for a third term, which the opposition said...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...

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