US warns against Burundi violence - CNBC Africa

US warns against Burundi violence

East Africa

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

The US has said that it is startled by reports of retaliatory attacks in the capital Bujumbura after the failed coup. PHOTO: Reuters

Following an attempted coup in Burundi last week, the United States has voiced concerns over the state of the East African nation.

(READ MORE: Burundi army general allegedly stages a coup

The US has said that it is startled by reports of retaliatory attacks in the capital, Bujumbura after the failed coup on 13 May. The main coup leader, Godefroid Niyombare who is still at large tried to overthrow Burundi’s president Pierre Nkurunziza while he was away in neighbouring Tanzania.

“The United States urgently calls on President Nkurunziza to condemn and stop the use of violence by the police and the ruling party’s Imbonerakure youth militias against those who participated in protests against a third term,” the Americans said in a statement.

With the presidential elections slated for 26 June, Nkurunziza continues to defy international pressure to withdraw from the elections. Furthermore, the president has rejected calls to delay the elections saying that ‘such a move would worsen the current situation’.

“The United States supports the rule of law and opposes attempts to seize power unlawfully. The United States also believes the Arusha Agreement that ended Burundi’s horrific civil war must remain the foundation for the country’s stability and post-war reconciliation,” said the US.

So far, Belguim has suspended aid for the country’s elections stating that they will not disburse about 2.2 million US dollars it had pledged to organize the elections. On the other hand, Netherlands has said it is reviewing its commitment to the country.

The world’s largest economy has also stated that they will no longer provide military training as this goes against its laws.  The US further condemns acts by the military that are in violation to any human rights.

“We support the recent decision by the African Union to delay the next deployment of Burundian troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and note that continued instability and violence in Burundi, and in particular the commission of human rights abuses by security forces, could jeopardize Burundi’s ability to continue to contribute to the AMISOM peacekeeping mission,” the US stated.

Meanwhile, international rating agency Moody’s has today given Burundi a credit negative outlook stating that the worsening political situation of the country continues to affect the reforms undertaken.

Additionally, the agency has stated that there is a likelihood of further disruptions of economic activity

“The crisis has the potential to reignite longstanding ethnic hostilities between Hutus and Tutsis and further destabilize the East African region, a salient reminder of broader political event risk across the continent,” Moody’s noted.

Burundi’s economy has grown by more than 4 per cent annually since 2012 despite several constraints. In 2014 the economy grew by 4.7 per cent up from 4.3 per cent in 2013.

Last year the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the country’s medium term economic outlook remains bleak with risks arising from political uncertainties ahead of the general elections and ‘vulnerability to external shocks given Burundi’s narrow export base’.

According to Venuste Karambazi an independent analyst based in Rwanda, the president’s decision to run for office is set to put a damper on the struggling economy.

(READ MORE: No constitutional integrity in Africa)

“Burundi is a poor country, so when there are riots like the case now these contribute to weakening the economy more and more. The capital is paralysed, trade is paralysed other social activities come to a stop. This implies a danger for the economy which is already weak. If the situation continues we risk having a Burundian economy that is destroyed,” Karambazi said.

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