BURUNDI POLITICAL CRISIS

Paulo Nunes dos Santos 

The small African nation of Burundi has been gripped by violence since April 2015, when Pierre Nkurunziza’s announced his intention to run for a third term as President despite a legal limit of two terms. The opposition immediately claimed that his decision breached both the constitution and the 2006 Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement, which had ended the 13-year civil war that left more than 300,000 people dead. Despite street violence, a wave of assassinations and grenade attacks, a failed coup d’etat and foreign pressure, the presidential elections went ahead in July and Nkurunziza won a third term as leader, raising widespread fears of renewed civil war in the impoverished country in the heart of central Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region. With the nation’s fragile peace under threat as tensions simmer between opposition political groups and a strong police force loyal to the president, more than 210,000 people have fled the post-election violence to find refuge in neighbouring countries.

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