Fighting has once again broken out in the capital of Burundi, killing several people. The assault began when gunmen attacked two military sites in Bujumbura during a coordinated onslaught.
Violent acts such as this are happening far too often in this small east African country. Since Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was planning to run for a third term, which many deemed unconstitutional, both inside the country and abroad, violence has been increasing. Now that he has been serving for several months the conflict is only getting scarily worse. However, it feels as if no real action is being taken to prevent further bloodshed. Why isn’t the international community taking further action?
At a meeting in the Belgian capital Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) called on the international community to take urgent action in Burundi to prevent “a second Rwanda”. On December 3 the US envoy said that regional mediation is needed to create a peace process between the government of Burundi and the opposition.
Thomas Perriello, the US special envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region told AP, “the most urgent thing is a regionally mediated dialogue that will deal with the crisis itself.”
Whilst many have stated that urgent action needs to be taken the fact is, it is nothing has been done. In November the United States imposed sanctions on four Burundian officials but that has not been enough to stop the conflict from continuing. The failed attempt at peace talks in July is another example that further concrete step towards ending the violence are what needed in the country.
Perriello said “we’ve learned way too painfully from the past that you don’t want to wait until after a genocide has started to be doing things to prevent it from happening.”
A historical lesson must be learnt here, the world cannot sit idly back and watch the atrocities continue, having already amounted to an approximate 300 deaths since April. Stuart Oramire wrote for The Monitor, that African leaders need to learn from this situation that “the practice of tinkering with their laws, constitutions, deliberate plunder of national coffers, rigging of elections and systemic weakening of state institutions through corruption and promotion of patronage, breed conflicts and civil strife.”
This is not simply a matter of security anymore, it is a question of how many more lives are going to be lost before concrete action is taken?