Since March, Western press and policymakers have warned of a genocide in Burundi and suggested that Burundi’s minority Tutsi population is in danger. Supporters of President Pierre Nkurunziza say that the key social divide in Burundi is not Hutu and Tutsi, but urban and rural. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to William Ndizeye, a Burundian Canadian supporter of the Burundian government.
Burundian insurgents attacked three army bases early Friday morning. Fighting continued through the night and the dead in Burundi’s streets were estimated to be as high as 89 this morning. The government and opposition told conflicting stories about who the dead were and how they died. Two days before the latest attacks, a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee held a hearing on the situation in Burundi. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has this report.
South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are two of the world’s most resource rich and war-torn nations in the world. The U.N. Refugee Agency now reports that fighting between local armed groups and the South Sudanese army in South Sudan’s Western Equatoria State has forced more than 4,000 South Sudanese to flee into a remote corner of the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Both Rwandan and Congolese Americans and other members of the Rwandan and Congolese diaspora have for years asked the United States to stop supporting the military dictatorship of Rwandan President Paul Kagame. Earlier this week U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power called on Kagame to step down at the end of his term in 2017. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
Earlier this week, the ENOUGH Project to, quote, “end genocide and crimes against humanity,” posted an appeal to consumers titled, “What if Black Friday were conflict-free?” ENOUGH is an NGO operating under the umbrella of the Center for American Progress, a neoliberal Washington D.C.-based Democratic Party think tank. They did not include an appeal to the nation’s weapons manufacturers who require minerals on the U.S. Strategic Minerals list.
The Canadian Globe and Mail reports that the United States has warned former Rwandan military officer Robert Higiro that his life is in danger because of evidence he gave to The Globe and Mail, to the BBC and to a U.S. House Subcommittee about the Rwandan government’s alleged efforts to assassinate dissidents who had fled abroad. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
This week marked the fifth anniversary of Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza’s arrest and imprisonment in Rwanda. Ingabire attempted to run for president, against incumbent Paul Kagame in 2010, and went to prison instead. Supporters of Ingabire and freedom for all Rwandans and all peoples of the African Great Lakes Region gathered in Brussels, Belgium, for a day of reflection on the meaning of Victoire Ingabire’s heroic sacrifice.
A lot of activists in the U.S. joke during election times or when things get hot that they will move to Canada, but Canada is no utopia and can be rough living especially for people of color with disabilities, just like the U.S. There have been several cases of police brutality against people with disabilities, especially in Toronto. I spoke with Somali-Canadian singer and activist Sulekha Ali about her autistic brother’s run-in with the police on June 3, 2015, in Ottawa.
Because of his experiences he encountered people from every background regardless of ethnicity, nationality, economic class, gender, social class, age and mentality. Therefore he was able to attract a crowd, speak to every person’s heart and mind, reach and mobilize people towards what everyone essentially wants and needs; but specifically in the Black Community he was progressing the liberation work of his grandfather.
Burundian Foreign Minister Willy 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. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Father Thomas Nahimana.
Dr. Léopold Munyakazi is in the custody of ICE, on the verge of being deported to Rwanda. The Rwandan government accused Professor Munyakazi of genocide crime after he made several speeches to university audiences in which he said that the Rwandan massacres were not genocide but class conflict. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Father Thomas Nahimana about the Munyakazi case.
Supporters of suspended Goucher College French Professor Léopold Munyakazi are urgently trying to stop his deportation to Rwanda because they feel it would lead to his imprisonment, torture and/or death. The Rwandan government accused Professor Munyakazi of genocide after he made several speeches in which he said that the Rwandan massacres that took place between 1990 and 1994 were not genocide.
The warring parties in South Sudan’s 20-month civil war signed a peace agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, earlier this week. Professor Horace Campbell says the recommendations of the African Union Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan, which include using the country’s oil wealth to benefit its people, must be implemented if there is to be any hope of lasting peace.
Two hundred delegates from African governments and institutions met in Kigali, Rwanda, yesterday for a symposium on “democratization and development.” Hailemariam Desalegn and Rwandan President Paul Kagame both spoke of the primacy of state power and African agency in development. Washington D.C.-based Ethiopian activist Obang Metho spoke to KPFA’s Ann Garrison about what was wrong with this picture.
The Burundian army has been engaged by troops near its northern border with Rwanda and this week Aljazeera reported that young men in Rwandan refugee camps are being recruited to join a rebel force to fight in Burundi. Burundian Foreign Minister Alain Nyamitwe, speaking to The Voice of America, said that the Burundian government had asked the Rwandan government to prevent any action threatening Burundi’s security.
A new 25-foot mural in the City of New Orleans reminds residents that Albert Woodfox, the last imprisoned member of the Angola 3, has been in prison and in solitary confinement for 43 years. On Friday, July 3rd, artist-activist Brandan “Bmike” Odums, put the finishing touches on the portrait of Angola 3 prisoner Albert Woodfox on the side of a stucco building near the Poydras Street intersection. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
Rwandan intelligence chief Emmanuel Karenzi Karake was arrested last Saturday in London on a European arrest warrant. The warrant was based on a Spanish court’s 2008 indictment of Karake and 39 other top Rwandan officials for genocide – that is, the massacre of Rwandan Hutu civilians and refugees in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has the story.
Earlier this week, California Congresswoman Karen Bass and New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith heard testimony and queried witnesses in a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on U.S. relations with Rwanda. The central question under consideration was whether or not the U.S. should be supporting the Rwandan government with foreign aid and military assistance despite allegations of egregious human rights violations.
On May 21, 2015, David Himbara told a U.S. Foreign Relations subcommittee hearing on U.S. relations with Rwanda that “the smallest administrative unit is 10 houses, and every 10 houses is watched by one individual, and as you move on, the whole state machinery driving fear is very well established.” KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to David Himbara, a Rwandan exile in Canada, who addressed the House subcommittee about how this climate of fear is created.
A coup attempt prevented Burundi’s President Nkurunziza from flying home from Arusha, Tanzania, earlier this week, but Nkurunziza now seems to be firmly back in control. The U.S. has called on Nkurunziza to step down and not seek a third term in office, but they do not appear to have supported the aborted coup. On Thursday, the U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that it continued to recognize Nkurunziza as the country’s president.