By Landry Ninteretse
Burundians are living in fear since the announced victory of CNDD-FDD in local polls in late May; the result has been contested by the opposition, who say that the vote had been rigged. Several grenade attacks have targeted bars, residences and public areas in the recent days. It is reported that 6 people have died and more that fifty others have been injured.
Five opposition presidential candidates announced on June 1st that they would boycott the upcoming presidential poll, arguing it would be rigged again. Among those candidates is Agathon Rwasa, leader of the former rebel group of Forces for National Liberation-FNL considered as the main challenger to incumbent president Pierre Nkurunziza. FNL supporters clashed with police on June 16 over rumors of the arrest of their leader who is now reported to have fled the country. Several sources indicate that the former rebel leader could be presently in Eastern DR Congo.
For the moment, police have failed to stop such attacks and to arrest the criminals. Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, spokesman of the police has indicated that resurgence of violence described as ‘‘acts of sabotage ahead of the presidential poll on June 28’’ seems to be generalized with grenade attacks occurring not only in Bujumbura but also in other several towns countryside.
The current political and security tension in Burundi poses a serious threat to stability of this landlocked Great Lakes country that is still struggling to emerge from a 13 year civil war that left more than 300,000 people dead. Violent incidents, acts of intimidation and manipulation were reported in the months leading up to the polls. The youth wings of political parties clashed on several times and it is reported that an estimated 80 percent of households in the capital and countryside still have small arms.
The small progresses made since 2005 now is at risk of being seriously compromised as only one party takes part in the electoral process and violence resurges across the country, and with a total absence of initiatives to facilitate dialogue among the political parties.
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