Burundi. Violence and concern were marked the year after
President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would be
running for a third term. The decision was controversial as
he sat for two periods, but he pointed out that he was
elected indirectly by Parliament for the first period.
In April, he was named CNDD-FDD by its ruling party as
its candidate. It triggered protests in the capital,
Bujumbura, as security forces struck hard. At least six
protesters were shot dead, but protests continued. Hundreds
of people were arrested, universities in the capital and
independent radio stations were closed.
Opposition parties and individual organizations, as well
as neighboring countries leaders, UN representatives and the
Catholic Church, urged the president not to run for
re-election. Members of the CNDD-FDD who criticized the
decision were excluded.
The Constitutional Court announced in May that Nkurunziza
was entitled to candidacy, but information appeared to
threaten the judges. A judge went into exile and tens of
thousands of people fled the country out of concern for the
violence. When Nkurunziza was in neighboring Tanzania on May
13 to discuss the crisis, an army general stated that he had
taken power. The coup attempt was defeated after two days of
fierce fighting. At least 17 coupe makers were arrested.
COUNTRYAAH, the crisis led to the parliamentary elections which were
announced until May 26 being postponed several times. Both
the outgoing Speaker of the House and Second Vice President Gervais Rufyikiri fled shortly before the election, which
was finally held on June 29. The African Union withdrew its
observers for fear of violence.
The opposition boycotted the election, just as in 2010.
CNDD-FDD won 77 of the 100 directly elected seats, two went
to the ally UPRONA while the newly formed opposition
coalition, Hope for the Burundians, won 21 seats. An
additional 21 seats were added indirectly to secure the
ethnic balance between the Hutu majority, Tutsis and Twee,
giving women 30% of the seats.
Proposals to suspend the presidential election were
rejected by the government. The election was held July 21,
almost four weeks later than planned. Nkurunziza was
declared victor with 69% of the vote. Opposition leader
Agathon Rwasa, whose name remained on the ballots, received
just under 19%. He was later elected President with the
The election results did not stop the wave of violence
and refugees. In August, a close adviser to the president,
the hard-fought General Adolphe Nshimirimana, was killed in
an attack in the capital, while human rights activist Pierre
Claver Mbonimpa was wounded in an ambush.
In the new government that took office in August,
Nkurunziza appointed several hardy confidants and
extinguished the hope of a unifying government.
The UN Human Rights Commissioner warned in September that
the country was at risk of a new civil war and, like human
rights groups, pointed to serious abuses, torture and
extrajudicial executions. There were regular reports of how
dead, sometimes mutilated bodies were dumped on the
The EU and the US introduced targeted sanctions - travel
bans and frozen assets - for four Burundians who were
identified as particularly responsible for the spiral of
violence, among them the Deputy Chief of Police and an
ex-general who participated in the coup attempt in May.
In November, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution
condemning the violence and also assigned UN chief Ban Ki
Moon the task of preparing a UN force. Several countries and
international organizations withdrew staff.
In December, at least 87 people were killed when three
military posts were attacked in the capital. The UN
estimated that at least 400 people were killed during the
year and 200,000 relocated to neighboring countries. The AU
decided to deploy a peacekeeping force of 5,000 soldiers,
something Burundi rejected.