, NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 18 – Burundi Senate Speaker Reverien Ndikuriyo has called for an end to the infighting in his country saying they were doing all they could to find lasting peace.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call to Speaker of the Senate Ekwee Ethuro, the Burundian Speaker called on those propagating the war to dialogue stating that their efforts were yet to bring peace to the nation which got out of a disputed election in July.
“We have made great strides in restoring peace, only a few districts have been at war since the election — but the problem is that we are now fighting people whose cause we do not know,” he said.
He described the recent killing of innocent people in the capital Bujumbura as an act of terror saying the government had launched a crackdown to collect weapons used to perpetrate violence in the capital.
Ndikuriyo who was initially linked to the conflict said he had visited 2,913 villages and also all the provinces preaching peace saying while calm had been restored in most parts of the country, only 4 villages were still fighting.
“The whole country is peaceful except for the four which we are now focusing on,” he stated.
He warned fellow countrymen against living under the false hope that tribal conflict had ended saying despite ensuring that there was an all-inclusive government there was still tension which needed to be quelled.
“In the Senate we are 50-50, the Hutus and Tutsi’s and women are 43 percent. In the military it is the same, 50-50. We even had an audit to ensure the percentages were equal,” he stated.
Burundi descended into violence in April after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third consecutive term in office amid opposition.
The conflict which ensued has since seen more than 240 people killed with more than 200,000 having fled the country.
Speaker Ethuro who chairs the Forum of Parliaments of Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (FP-ICGLR) and also doubles up as a member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union representing the East African region noted that the conflict in Burundi impacted on the entire EA region and hence the need to end it.
“As ICGLR we understand these issues affect all our 22 member states, we have a team on the ground helping to come up re-conciliatory initiatives, which can be implemented to end the conflict,” said Ethuro.
He reiterated sentiments by Ndikuriyo who had dismissed reports classifying the Burundi conflict as tribal saying like most African nations, the conflict was political and thus political solutions needed to be sought.
He this was necessary to ensure the conflict does not spiral into an ethnic war, as was seen in the 1994 Rwanda genocide where close to one million Tutsi’s were killed in 100 days of a Hutu fueled war.