Burundi Asks Households to Spy on Neighbours’ Guests After Deadly Attacks

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Burundi’s government is asking families to record and notify authorities of any guests and spy on their neighbors’ visitors following a spate of cross-border attacks.

Each home in the commercial capital, Bujumbura, must also place two lit lamps outside their homes every night. Bars can only operate for four hours until 9 p.m. on weekdays.

The new measures follow two attacks in the span of three weeks by gunmen that crossed over into the East African country from neighboring nations. In the first, at least 14 people were killed in Oct. 21 clashes between security forces and Burundi rebel militia known as RED Tabara sheltering in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In the second, gunmen attacked a Burundi military camp near the border with Rwanda on Nov. 16 and retreated to the northern neighbor.

“People must report to authorities whenever they see strange things and everyone should collaborate with security committees,” Interior Minister Pascal Barandagiye said in the northwestern region of Bubanza, near the border with Congo, in comments broadcast on National Radio.

People living in areas bordering Rwanda must also to report the presence of any strangers, it said.

Tensions between the two nations started in 2015 after a failed coup in Burundi. The plotters allegedly fled to Rwanda, which refused to hand them over, according to Burundian authorities. In 2016, the U.S. expressed concern that Rwanda could be have been stoking conflict in Burundi by engaging in activities such as training rebels. Rwanda dismissed those accusations.

Landlocked Burundi, which is home to 6% of the world’s nickel reserves, is scheduled to vote for a new president in 2020.

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