Burundi: The Army in Crisis

17 Apr 2017 0:0

By International Crisis Group

Two years in, the Burundi crisis shows little sign of resolution. Following the July 2015 re-election of President Nkurunziza, whose April decision to run again sparked the troubles, and with no progress made in the mediation, the crisis has turned into a low-intensity conflict. Almost 400,000 Burundians have fled the country. Since the attempted coup of May 2015, political polarization has had violent repercussions in the army. A series of attacks have targeted numerous officers, both those favorable to the president’s political ambitions and those suspected of sympathy with the coup plotters. Assassination attempts have also taken place abroad. Following over ten years of foreign support for the army’s transformation, its reputation has suffered greatly. International training has ended, and the army’s lucrative participation in peacekeeping operations is in doubt. This divided and demoralized army is a major threat to the country’s stability. Only a real dialogue, more urgent now than ever, between the government and the opposition could offer assurances to those officers concerned at the politicization of their institution.

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