A new update of the recent unrest in Burundi, covering events from 26 April 2015 to 7 August 2016 has been released by ACLED. This update can be found here.
ACLED has covered the Burundi crisis with regular data updates and blog posts since June 2015, relying on a combination of news sources and local crowd-sourced information from the 2015Burundi Project, a network of grassroots organizations and trained citizen journalists aiding in conflict monitoring, and ACLED’s weekly real-time conflict data release covering Burundi
A One-Year Special Report reviewing conflict patterns and dynamics, and the current state of the Burundi Crisis as it officially enters its second year, was recently published, and is available here.
Trends for the Weeks of July 25 and August 1:
Over the past two weeks, incidents of violence against civilians have remained prevalent, social unrest and demonstrations saw their highest levels in a year, and ‘strategic developments’ – such as search operations and arrests – throughout the country continue.
Violence against civilians has not seen a reduction in the Burundi Crisis. Fifty-five incidents of violence against civilians were reported in July 2016 – the same as that reported in June 2016. Civilians are targeted throughout the country. Figure 1 maps all incidents of violence against civilians during the past two weeks, and highlights the reported lethality of these events. About three-quarters of these events were reportedly perpetrated by various units of the state police forces or by Imbonerakure – the youth wing of the Burundi ruling party; the other instances are attributed to unidentified armed groups – though there is reason to believe that at least some of these perpetrators may have ties to the state / ruling party as well.
On July 29, “the UN Security Council [authorized] the deployment of up to 228 UN police personnel to Burundi to monitor the security and human rights situation” (Al Jazeera, 30 July 2016). This decision, however, has been met with much protest in Burundi – led by the ruling party (Agence France Presse, 31 July 2016). In fact, last week saw the highest rate of social unrest in Burundi since July of last year, with protests taking place across the country (see Figure 2). Protesters demonstrated against a variety of entities and issues, including: the deployment of foreign troops in Burundi, as Burundi is ‘sovereign and stable’; France, as France had drafted the UN resolution to send police to Burundi; and Rwanda and President Kagame, who have reportedly welcomed Burundian rebels into Rwanda.
Search operations – often with little justification – also continue. Local sources suggest that Imbonerakure fire shots during the night in order to justify search operations the following day. Individuals are often arrested during the searches on unknown charges, and only released upon paying a ‘penalty’.
For more on Burundi local data coverage and analysis, see ACLED’s prior posts on this topic.