Burundi accuses Rwanda of training rebels for cross border attacks


by Ann Garrison

KPFA Weekend News broadcast Oct. 3, 2015

KPFA spoke to Father Thomas Nahimana and the U.S. State Department about accusations that Rwanda is training rebels to engage in cross border attacks to destabilize Burundi.


KPFA Weekend News Anchor Sharon Sobotta: Burundian Foreign Minister Nyamitwe has accused neighboring Rwanda of training rebels to destabilize Burundi with cross border attacks. Rwandan President Paul Kagame responded that the Burundian president was simply trying to distract people from his own problems, but Carina Tertsakian, a Human Rights Watch researcher in Burundi, confirmed the foreign minister’s accusation.

Father Thomas Nahimana at KPFA Radio in Berkeley
Father Thomas Nahimana at KPFA Radio in Berkeley

Speaking to the Associated Press, Tertsakian said: “There is definitely an anti-Nkurunziza armed group that has been formed already. These people have been hanging out in Rwanda for several months now. We believe it is happening.”

KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Father Thomas Nahimana, a Rwandan priest who plans to challenge President Paul Kagame in the 2017 election.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: What do you think about the unrest now, between Rwanda and Burundi?

Father Thomas Nahimana: I know and I think at the same time that Rwanda tries to destabilize Burundi now. They send their men into Burundi and that’s not good. We are for peaceful relations between ​neighbor countries – Burundi, Congo and Tanzania. And Uganda.

I do not know why Kagame has always to launch wars in that region. That must stop quickly because what Kagame is doing in Burundi is not good. And he wants – Kagame wants to provoke a genocide in Burundi.

KPFA: It looks, to anybody who’s been following along, that it could be a replay in which there are both Hutu and Tutsi massacres, but only the Tutsi massacres are reported, and then Kagame has a justification for invading Burundi – or occupying Burundi.

Central Africa map-2Nahimana: Yeah, we have read that in newspapers, because as it stands nowadays, Kagame and his team want to provoke a genocide in Burundi in order to put in power in Burundi the same group as the group which is in Rwanda. Everybody can see that. It is not complicated to see.

KPFA: And you’re actually afraid that Pierre Nkurunziza, the president of Burundi, is likely to be assassinated?

Nahimana: He could be assassinated. It is possible. When they assassinate the chief who was in charge of his security, when they try to assassinate the chief of staff of the army, it is possible also to assassinate Pierre Nkurunziza. But it would be a very big scandal and a catastrophe for our region, I think.

KPFA: Yes. We can’t explain all of this, but this would be the fourth Hutu president assassinated in this region since 1993.

Nahimana: Yes, yes, that’s it.

KPFA: And that was Father Thomas Nahimana on the current conflict between Rwanda and Burundi.

KPFA also asked the U.S. State Department to comment, given the longstanding alliance and military partnership between the U.S. and Rwanda. Spokeswoman Katy Bondi responded: “We remain deeply concerned by reports of recruitment of Burundian refugees at camps in Rwanda for possible military training. We have asked the Rwandan government to investigate these reports and to hold accountable those responsible for unlawful conduct.”

In other words, the State Department said that it had asked the Rwandan government to investigate itself.

In Berkeley, for Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I’m Ann Garrison.

Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at anniegarrison@gmail.com. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.


  1. It doesn't need a flash lighter and researching to notice what President Kagame and his allies are cooking for the Burundian population. Pierre Nkurunziza third term is just a leit motif allowing President Kagame to jump in action and fulfill what is his long time plan for that region. Burundian we are still mourning the death of President Cyprien Ntaryamira died in the plane crash together with President Habyarimana that we believe the implication of President Kagame in that crash. President Kagame and his Foreign Affairs Ministry have declared upon President Nkurunziza's third term that let anyone to think about what kind of relationship between these two countries while he is doing the same. A Burundian refugees calling him representing other refugees in Mahama camp, I don't know if it was by excitement, he expressed on VOA that “by the help of Rwanda they will defeat Pierre Nkurunziza in his third term project". Burundian people are wondering about how the UN, the USA and, The European Union especially Belgium are handling this matter because they seem siding to those disturbing peace in Burundi.
    There was not at all peaceful demonstration by the people were against Pierre Nkurunziza third term. Go to youtube and review the pictures about Nkurunziza’s third term and you will find the truth unless if you are sided mind. This is the result of a divisionism seed planted by Belgium in Burundi during colonial time. This is the same way these countries were pressurizing President Havyarimana for his fall which ended by genocide.
    The presidential terms are not the Burundian concern at the moment, and of course, is not the length of terms which determine good governance. Burundian needs peace, job or other sources of income, functional hospitals and schools from where to get knowledge that will allow them to overcome all these problems.
    The opposition and Pierre Nkurunziza's government they mast peaceful seat together and review the Burundian constitution and formulate it on the way to suit all Burundian. All of us we do believe of having gotten peace through Arusha's Accord but some of the international opinions would like the Burundian people to be guided by an accord while other countries over the world have a respected constitutions guiding their countries.
    Why for Burundi?

  2. It is not a secret to anyone that Ann Garrison has been sleeping with Rwanda enemies. It is not astonishing to see the rebel priest having an interview with other people under arrangements made by Ann Garrison. Ann Garrison has a hidden agenda but she wouldn’t attain it. Others have failed and she will fail as well. Do not compete with President Kagame because you will fall down, you prostitute Ann Garrison. The stupid former father you are supporting has been even rejected by the church and you are picking up a rubbish person.

  3. I don't know if i should call you a journalist or a just troll no days goes by withouth you writing a bunch of nonsense on Rwanda even things that are not remotely related to Rwanda u find somehow a way to link them to Rwanda
    I'm surprise you are behind Nkurunziza a guy who was dropped by everybody even EU cut all tied with him but again you always support crazy poeple
    The only poeple who agrees with you are the same crazy poeple you support no sane person would ever beleive your rubbish.
    Do yourself a favor find another career apparently you run out things to write

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