In response to police in Bujumbura, Burundi barricading the neighborhood of Jabe to search residents’ homes and collect weapons, Freedom House issues the following statement:
“This is clearly an attempt by Burundian authorities to stifle peaceful freedom of movement and assembly in Bujumbura,” said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. “Burundian authorities should not use the latest uptick in unrest to justify further repression of the rights of citizens, as it exacerbates political polarization in the country.”
Since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to defy term limits in April, Burundi has spiraled into near chaos. Over 180,000 persons have fled the country, and more than 100 others have been killed. On August 2, General Adolphe Nshimirimana, seen as President Pierre Nkurunziza’s number two man, was assassinated. On August 3, Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, prominent human rights activist, was assaulted. Police raids in Jabe and other neighborhoods in the capital are viewed as attempts to suppress opposition to Nkurunziza seeking a third term.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.