No breakthrough in sight in relations between Rwanda and Burundi

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Last August, President Evariste Ndayishimiye opposed a rejection of Paul Kagame’s outstretched hand, proposing to turn the page after five years of squabbling. And despite the recent meeting between military intelligence from the two countries and the return of more than a thousand Burundian refugees, a new incident took place in the border area.

as reported from Kigali, Laure broulard

It all started in late September when the Rwandan army captured nineteen fighters identified as part of the Burundian rebel group RED Tabara. The Burundian Interior Ministry is talking about armed bandits from Rwanda who allegedly attacked villagers on the Burundian side before crossing the border, and is asking Kigali to hand over these criminals directly so that they can face justice. .

But on Monday, the Rwandan army preferred to present the fighters to the Joint Verification Mechanism, a regional body led by the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region to investigate the incident. “Kigali is clumsily trying to legitimize an armed band located in its territory,” an adviser to the Burundian presidency responded on Twitter, referring to “another act of destabilization”.

Since 2015 has relations between Rwanda and Burundi are strained, the two neighbors accuse each other of supporting groups hostile to their government. Today, Gitega sets conditions for the normalization of the relationship: he asks Kigali to hand over to those he accuses of having participated in the attempted coup in 2015. Soldiers, but also political opponents and members of civil society.

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