Rwanda Dismisses Burundi Meddling Claims
Rwanda has rejected accusations it has been meddling in Burundi’s political crisis, insisting it only wants to see peace in its neighbouring country.
Ongoing violence in Burundi has become a major concern for international bodies, as then conflict-ridden nation teeters on the edge of another civil war. Among the most concerned are neighbouring nations, such as Rwanda, who are directly affected by outbreaks of violence in the region.
‘Burundi’s problem is not Rwanda’
Relations between Rwanda and Burundi have grown tense recently, after a number of disagreements between the nations’ leaders. Most recently, Rwanda President Paul Kagame called on Burundi’s Nkurunziza to end his third term in charge as president.
Nkurunziza’s announcement of a potential third term sparked the current crisis in Burundi, back in April, before his presidency was consolidated in July’s elections.
Rwanda Minister of Foreign Affairs, Louise Mushikiwabo, clarified her country’s position on Burundi at a press conference in Kigali on Thursday.
“Burundi’s problem is not Rwanda, Burundi’s problem is Burundi,” she said. “We believe, as leadership, that when leaders take decisions they should be able to live with the consequences of the decisions.”
Burundi’s impact on neighbouring Rwanda
The Rwandan capital of Kigali has become known as a place of refuge for opposition activists, with the country seen as a safe place for people who oppose the Burundi regime. Burundi offered a similar shelter for refugees during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, with civilians fleeing the other direction throughout the Burundi civil war.
Rwanda currently hosts more than 70,000 Burundi refugees – a number that will only increase if tensions continue to escalate in the country.
“Refugees are highly politicised, and what we’re trying to avoid is that the problems and tensions that exist at the level of Burundi, are transferred on Rwandan territory,” Mushikiwabo added.
Burundi goes as far to claim that Rwanda has been supporting rebel forces that were established after a failed coup against Nkurunziza’s regime in May.