The tiny East African nation of Burundi remains unbowed despite pressure from Western officials. Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza, speaking to the press yesterday, remained firm in his rejection of a proposed African Union peacekeeping force in his country. U.N. Ambassador to the U.S. Samantha Power expressed her disappointment. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.
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.
Both the Richmond and BART Police Departments sent taser advocates to the Oct. 6 Berkeley City Council hearing, but neither is an exemplar of responsible taser use. BART Officer Johannes Mehserle claimed to have mistaken his gun for his taser after he shot and killed Black teenager Oscar Grant, and Richmond officer Kristopher Tong tasered Black teenager Andre Little in the testicles. KPFA’s Ann Garrison spoke to Berkeley Copwatch co-founder Andrea Pritchett about the hearing.
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.
Former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney writes that this statement, found after Dedon Kamathi’s death earlier this month, is a “letter that Dedon wrote in the case of his demise during the trip that he and I took together to Syria while it was under attack from U.S. imperial forces. This letter, I believe, is critical to understand who Dedon was and how committed he was to his community. He was ready to give his life for his beliefs and for us.”
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.
In a time when true friendship is a lost art, I can truly say that Dedon Kamathi was my friend. How difficult it is for me to use the past tense. Dedon would say that he was my most loyal follower. But the truth of it was that he was my leader. His favorite saying was “Ready for the Revolution.” Dedon was ready for the revolution, but the community that he gave so much to continues in its state of unreadiness.
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.
Attorneys filed lawsuits in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts this week on behalf of prisoners who say they’re being denied new lifesaving treatment for Hepatitis C because of the cost of the drugs. Gilead Sciences manufactures two versions of the cure, Harvoni and Sovaldi. Abbvie Pharmaceutical Limited, formerly Abbot Labs, manufactures another, Viekira Pak. The cost of any one of the three is roughly $90,000.