Burundian govt suspends civic groups amid political turmoil

Burundian government suspends 10 non-governmental organizations for allegedly being involved in anti-government activities while political crisis in country worsens

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Burundian policeman holds his rifle at a barricade during a protest against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term in Bujumbura on May 26, 2015

Burundi’s Ministry of Home Affairs announced on Monday that it suspended the licenses of 10 non-governmental organizations for being involved in an unsuccessful military coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza in May 2015.

The United Nations immediately responded to the government’s decision, as the UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said "It's clear that every society needs a healthy civil society."

Dujarric added that the newly appointed UN adviser on Burundi will hold talks and report back in response to the November 12 resolution adopted by the UN Security Council.

In this latest resolution, the council threatened to impose sanctions on Burundi, condemning the ongoing violence in the country which started in April, after Nkurunziza declared he will run for a third term.

File photo of a protester setting up a barricade during a protest against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term in Bujumbura May 22, 2015

The United States announced on Monday that it will impose sanctions on Burundi, targeting some political leaders and their opponents, including country’s Public Security Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, Deputy Director-General of the National Police Godefroid Niyombare, former chief of intelligence services and former defence minister.  

A spokesperson for the National Security Council Ned Price said “We will continue to investigate and impose consequences against leaders from the government or opposition who resort to violence and obstruct a political resolution to this crisis.”

Price stated that the move came as it has received some reports saying Burundian security forces commit arbitrary arrests, torture and political repression.

He also added that the turmoil in the country was precipitated by Nkurunziza’s pursuit for a third term in office.

After the Constitutional Court ruled in favour of Nkurunziza's third term bid, clashes occurred between security forces and residents in anti-Nkurunziza strongholds in Burundian capital Bujumbura.

On May 13, 2015 a military coup was announced in a radio broadcast, however one day later Nkurunziza declared that the military attempt had failed.

The bloody unrest caused the killings of more than 200 people and injuries of at least 500 others since April, according to the UN.

TRTWorld and agencies