BREAKING: Burundi’s environment minister shot dead.

An unknown gunman has killed environment minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru in the conflict-ridden East African nation of Burundi, a police spokesman said on Sunday.

 

The minister was shot dead with a pistol in the early hours of Sunday.

 

The tragic incident happened in the streets of the Rohero neighbourhood in the capital, Bujumbura, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said on Twitter.

 

The police have arrested a woman over her alleged involvement in the assassination.

 

Burundi has been suffering from ongoing political violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza won a third term in office in July 2015 elections.

 

Hundreds of people have been killed by police and armed opposition groups in the violence.

UNICEF: 50 Million Children Uprooted by Crises

War and poverty have forced 50 million children around the world from their homes, according to UNICEF.

Up to 28 million of the children have been uprooted by violent conflict, with nearly as many abandoning their homes in search of a better life, says a report released by the UN agency.

The report, entitled Uprooted: The Growing Crisis for Refugee and Migrant Children, also says that the number of child refugees has more than doubled in the past 10 years from four million to 8.2 million.

UNICEF describes the children as some of the most vulnerable people on earth and gives warning that if governments do not act, the numbers are likely to grow.

Whether it is from war, violence, poverty or climate change, the youngsters have been uprooted by crises they are not responsible for, or have little influence over, says UNICEF.

The report, published on Tuesday, says that children make up about a third of the world’s population as of 2015 and accounted for nearly half of all refugees.

Speaking in Geneva, Ted Chaiban, UNICEF director of programmes, said: “What’s important is that these children on the move are children. And they should be treated as children.

“They deserve to be protected. They need access to services, such as education.”

According to the report, there were 10 million child refugees and one million child asylum seekers whose status had not yet been determined.

The remaining 17 million children displaced by conflict remained within their home countries’ borders.

The report said 45 percent of the children refugees came from just two countries, Syria and Afghanistan.

Increasingly, these children are travelling alone, with 100,000 unaccompanied minors applying for asylum in 78 countries in 2015, three times the number in 2014, the report found.

Because these children often lack documents, they are especially vulnerable.

The report estimates another 20 million children are migrants, driven from their homes by poverty and gang violence among other things.

Refugee and migrant children face a host of risks including drowning during sea crossings, malnourishment, dehydration, kidnapping, rape and murder.

When they arrive in other countries they often face discrimination and xenophobia, the report stated.

“The world hears the stories of child refugees one child at a time and the world is able to bring support to that child, but when we talk about millions it provokes incredible outrage and underscores the need to address the growing problem,” said Emily Garin, the UNICEF report’s author.

The report calls on the international community to provide protection, education and health services to these children and asks governments to address the root causes contributing to the large-scale movements of refugees and migrants.

Burundi President’s Chief Security Officer Assasinated

Gunmen wearing military uniforms shot dead a former Burundian security chief who was a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza yesterday Sunday August 2nd. According to presidential spokesman, Willy Nyamitwe who confirmed the news, Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana (pictured) was assassinated yesterday in a car alongside three of his bodyguards in the Kamenge district in Bujumbura.

General Adolphe Nshimirimana was in charge of the president’s personal security at the time of his death. When a president refuses to step down…he brings war to his people!

Presidential spokesperson Nyamitwe said;

“I have lost a brother, a companion in the struggle. The sad reality is that General Adolphe Nshimirimana is no longer with this world,” he said in a message posted on Twitter.

Police and witnesses said the General’s pick-up was hit by two rockets and sprayed with automatic gunfire along with his driver and two others. General Adolphe was a close aide to President Pierre and was seen as the mastermind behind the crackdown on the protests as well as a key player in foiling the coup attempt.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the assassination, although the coup plotters have since regrouped and have launched a rebellion in the north of the country, and have also been linked to a string of grenade attacks in Bujumbura. There are fears that renewed conflict in the country could reignite ethnic Hutu-Tutsi violence and bring another humanitarian disaster to central Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region. The last civil war in Burundi, which ended in 2006, left at least 300,000 people dead.

AP/Daily Nation

President Of Burundi Storms Polling Booth On A Bicycle

President of Burundi, Pierre Nkurunziza, was spotted today at a polling unit in his hometown of Ngozi on a bicycle to cast his vote at the nation’s parliamentary election. The highly controversial President who refused to halt his third term bid, stood in the queue with his supporters who came out in large numbers to show their support.

Opponents say the president’s bid to contest again breaks the constitution. But the government has pressed on with plans for both votes, amid the worst political crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005.

Mr Nkurunziza will contest presidential elections next month, rejecting calls to step down.

BUR_PIX-e1435585959796CIqsuCiWIAAGGRU 83921392_027938748-1 CIqsua-UEAAuEDR

Zedi Feruzi, The Leader Of Burundi’s Opposition Party Shot Dead

It’s getting serious in Burundi. The leader of a Burundian opposition party was shot dead on Saturday May 23rd along with his bodyguard, following weeks of anti-government unrest.

Zedi Feruzi was the head of the Union for Peace and Development (UPD) and was walking home with a bodyguard in Bujumbura’s Ngagara district when he was attacked by gun wielding men.
An AFP reporter at the scene saw the bloodied bodies of both Feruzi and a police bodyguard lying outside the house soon after the shooting.

Residents said a third person, believed to be another police officer tasked with protecting Feruzi, was
seriously injured in the incident.
“We heard around 20 gunshots, everyone fell to the ground, people saw a Toyota car speeding away,” said a neighbour, who did not witness the shooting himself.
Around an hour after the attack police had yet to arrive at the scene. Meanwhile, two barricades of tyres were set alight in the district, where local youths were sealing off streets and alleyways to outsiders.
The killings, a day after a grenade attack on a busy market in the capital killed three people, risk further fuelling tensions in Burundi after weeks of violent protests triggered by the president’s controversial bid for a third term.

Source: AFP

Burundi President Fires 3 Ministers After Failed Coup

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, has announced a partial cabinet reshuffle in addition to firing the ministers of Defence, foreign affairs and trade, replacing them with trusted figures after a failed coup attempt on May 13 by the military.

The decision was made public a few hours after thousands of people took to the streets of the capital of Burundi, in a new set of protests against Nkurunziza’s intention to seek an unconstitutional third presidential term, sparked after five days of relative calm in the African country.

Burundian Protesters Back On The Streets After Failed Coup

About a hundred protesters took to the streets of Bujumbura on Saturday against Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term, a day after he returned to the capital following a failed coup. Reuters was there:

The east African nation was plunged into deep crisis after Nkurunziza announced he was running for another five-year term, with clashes between police an protesters stirring memories of an ethnically driven civil war that ended just a decade ago. “A lot of us citizens do not want the constitution to be violated as he is not allowed to lead for the third term…. We will demonstrate until he steps down,” said Nduwimana Belamie, one of the protesters.

Opponents say Nkurunziza’s decision violates the constitution and the Arusha deal to end the war that pitted rebel groups of the majority Hutu population, including one led by Nkurunziza, against the army which was then commanded by minority Tutsis. The army is now mixed and has absorbed rival factions, but the coup attempt exposed divisions.

The fate of General Godefroid Niyombare, who had announced the president’s ouster on Wednesday, was still not clear on Saturday, after loyalist troops calmed the streets of the capital on Friday following clashes between the two factions on Thursday. A Reuters photographer saw the army clearing barricades set up by protesters in some areas of the capital.

I Hope They Won’t Kill Us – Burundi Coup Leaders Surrender As President Pierre Returns

Leaders of the failed coup in Burundi against 49 year old President Pierre Nkurunziza, have surrendered on Friday ,with an AFP reporter hearing the arrest by telephone.

The coup leaders’ spokesman, Venon Ndabaneze, was speaking to AFP confirming that they had decided to surrender when loyalist troops arrested him, deputy coup leader Cyrille Ndayirukiye and another senior figure among the mutineers.

The leader of the coup attempt, former intelligence chief General Godefroid Niyombare, also said via telephone that he was surrendering,adding that troops loyal to the president were approaching him.

“We have decided to surrender,”“I hope they won’t kill us,” he added.

It was unclear what happened to him

Burundian President Back After Coup Attempt

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza arrived back in the country Thursday, a day after a coup was declared while he was in Tanzania for regional talks, his office said.

 A file picture taken on 14 December 2006 in Nairobi at the UN-sponsored conference on the Great Lakes Region shows Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza. Burundi's presidency said an attempted coup by a top general had

“President Pierre Nkurunziza is now in Burundi,” his senior communications advisor Willy Nyamitwe told AFP. “That’s all we can say for the now because of security reasons.”

Nkurunziza was in neighbouring Tanzania for regional talks Wednesday when the coup was announced by former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, in a culmination of weeks of street protests against the president’s bid to seek a third term.

But the outcome of the coup appeared uncertain Thursday as rival factions within the security forces clashed around the state television and radio complex.

Broadcasts to the nation were briefly interrupted but resumed after anti-coup forces repelled a major attack by rival troops.

In the afternoon, station director Jerome Nzokirantevye said it was “loyalist soldiers who are in control.”

The bodies of three soldiers were seen by an AFP journalist lying in the street.

The crisis has raised fears of a return to widespread violence in the impoverished country, which is still recovering from a 13-year civil war that ended in 2006 and left hundreds of thousands dead.

The coup announcement triggered international criticism and the United States insisted Nkurunziza remained the legitimate president.

“There are competing claims to authority, but we recognise President Nkurunziza as the legitimate president,” State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke told reporters.

The UN Security Council, in emergency talks on the crisis on Thursday, condemned the coup attempt and called for a swift return to the rule of law in the impoverished country.

UN envoy Said Djinnit briefed the council, saying it was “still unclear” whether the coup attempt would succeed, a diplomat told AFP.

AFP reporters in the Burundian capital said the crackle of automatic weapons fire and the thump of explosions could be heard throughout the night Wednesday, and intensified around dawn on Thursday.

For much of the day the streets were largely deserted by civilians as sporadic clashes could be heard in other parts of the city, while plumes of smoke were seen on the city skyline.

Both sides claimed to control the streets.

But Burundi’s armed forces chief, a supporter of the president, went on national radio to declare that the coup, launched by former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare, had failed.

Read more www.vanguardngr.com

Police Kill 2 In Protest Against Burundian President Seeking Third Term

Burundian police shot dead two protesters and wounded at least one other on Sunday, in demonstrations against the President Pierre Nkurunziza seeking a third term, the Red Cross said.
Witnesses said police used water cannon, tear gas and in some cases live bullets to disperse demonstrators across Bujumbura.
The authorities earlier banned all protests either for or against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s renewed candidacy.
Critics say Nkurunziza’s renewed candidacy would violate a constitutional limit of two terms.
African leaders and Western nations have urged Nkurunziza not to run again.
U.S. and the European Union have indicated they could take punitive steps if violence erupted as a

result.

“We counted two protesters killed by police, four others were injured and one is in coma in hospital after being hit by a bullet,” Alexis Manirakiza, Burundi Red Cross spokesman said.
However, Police had no immediate comment on the casualties.
Burundi’s ruling CNDD-FDD party nominated Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate on Saturday.
Those opposed to it say this not only violates the constitution, which limits leaders to two terms in office, but also goes against the spirit of a 2000 peace deal.
The peace deal has kept Burundi calm for a decade since a civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis ended in 2005.
Photo Credit: Getty Images /Sean Gallup

Senegalese President Offers To Reduce His Presidential Term As An ‘Example To African Leaders’

Senegal’s President Macky Sall on Tuesday proposed a referendum on reducing his mandate by two years, a stance in contrast to several fellow African leaders criticised for clinging to power.

The pledge came with countries including Benin, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo-Brazzaville all said to be considering constitutional change to allow their leaders a third term in office.

“I was elected for seven years (but) next year, I will propose the organisation of a referendum for the reduction of my mandate,” he told a news conference with foreign media in Dakar.

The move would allow “a revision of the constitution, first on the mandate and then on some other aspects to strengthen our democracy”, he said, adding that he wanted the vote to take place in May next year.

“Have you ever seen presidents reduce their mandate? Well I’m going to do it,” Sall told the meeting at the presidency, making good on a pledge which formed part of his election campaign in 2012.

“We have to understand, in Africa too, that we are able to offer an example, and that power is not an end in itself,” he added.

Sall said he wanted presidential elections in 2017 rather than two years later, as envisaged under current constitutional arrangements, but would not be drawn on whether he intended to stand for a second term.

His announcement followed a plea by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to African leaders gathered for an annual summit in January to not cling to power and to respect the wishes of their people.

Chaos erupted in Burkina Faso in October last year as lawmakers prepared to vote to allow 63-year-old Blaise Compaore – who took power in a 1987 coup – to contest elections in November 2015. He was forced out of power.

Advertisement

African nations where laws have been changed to the benefit of their incumbent leaders include Algeria, Angola, Chad, Djibouti and Uganda.

As many as 42 people were killed in protests that erupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo in January against a bill seen as an attempt to extend President Joseph Kabila’s hold on power in the nation he has led for 14 years.

Sall told foreign correspondents at the Dakar news conference he intended to appeal personally to Kabila for the release of Senegalese activists arrested on Sunday.

Three members of Senegalese pro-democracy campaign group “Y’en a marre” (“Fed Up”) were detained in Kinshasa with activists from DR Congo and Burkina Faso.

An American diplomat and journalists held alongside the campaigners have been released but the African activists remain in custody on suspicion of planning to destabilise the country.

Sall said he had instructed Foreign Minister Ndiaye Mankeur to make contact with Congolese authorities, adding: “We did what we had to do as a state, and that is to defend our citizens.”

“Myself, I intend to speak this morning, if the link is established, with President Kabila,” he told the news conference.

“It is not for me to judge if this is above board or not. My position as president of the republic of Senegal is not to get into this,” he added.

“My position is to ensure first of all, that the Senegalese members of “Y’en a marre” be released and returned home.”

Campaigners from the three nations gathered in Kinshasa Saturday for a meeting they said was intended to raise consciousness and mobilise young people about good government and democracy.

Security forces arrested about 30 people Sunday at the activists’ news conference, including three French reporters working respectively for AFP, BBC and Belgian broadcaster RTBF.

The activists still being held included Fadel Barro, the charismatic head of “Y’en a marre” as wells as fellow activist Aliou Sane and Senegalese rapper Fou Malade.

The group battled against ex-Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, whose bid for a controversial third term sparked deadly violence in Dakar in 2012.

Source – The Guardian.com