Burundi Expels Rwandan Diplomat as Tensions Rise Between Nations

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Burundi has expelled a Rwandan diplomat, as tensions between the two countries continues to escalate.

No official reason has been given for the diplomat’s expulsion, who had been serving as a top adviser at the Rwandan embassy for many years. His dismissal follows accusations that Rwanda had been training rebels who seek to destabilise Burundi – allegations that have been strongly denied.

 

Growing tension between the neighbours

Relations between Burundi and Rwanda have deteriorated since 2012, when the two nation’s clashed over the M23 movement in Congo. The rebellion was allegedly backed by Rwanda and its involvement angered Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza, at the time.

Burundi now accuses Rwanda of supporting rebel actions in its own country, claiming it hosted failed coup leader Gen Godefroid Niyombare, who tried to seize power in May. The allegations have been strongly denied by Rwanda, which claims Burundi is simply trying to divert attention away from the political crisis facing the country.

 

Relations broken down

Tension between the East African nations has intensified further, after Burundi filed a complaint to the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), in September, accusing Rwanda of aggressive action against its security.

It’s a drastic breakdown of relations between the neighbouring nations. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and Rwanda President Paul Kagame were on good terms before their falling out in 2012. The pair even played football together when visiting each other’s country. However, Rwanda has distanced itself from Burundi since  President Nkurunziza ran for a third term in power, sparking widespread violence in Burundi.

 

Featured image:

Paul Kagame, 2009 World Economic Forum on Africa” by Copyright World Economic Forum www.weforum.org / Matthew Jordaan mattjordaanphoto@gmail.com – Africa as the World’s potential Breadbasket – World Economic Forum on Africa 2009. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.