Burundi: Uneasy Neighbours – Rwanda and Burundi


The Burundian crisis has stoked tensions with Rwanda. Arrests of foreign nationals and mutual recriminations are unlikely to lead to war, but a possible split of the region into two rival blocs is worrying observers.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has never made any secret of what he thinks of Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term. “How can one say ‘I’ll stay whether you like it or not’? That’s a big problem,” he tweeted on May 8. Those remarks were made before Nkurunziza had officially entered the race as a presidential candidate. Nkurunziza was sworn in once again as president of Burundi last week, and tensions with neighboring Rwanda are rising. 30 Rwandans are reported to have been detained in Burundi over the last few days. The reason for their detention remains unclear. Rwanda has lodged an official protest with Burundi, demanding an explanation and the release of its citizens.

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