The former senior officer in Burundi’s army announced that he along with other officers from the army are forming a rebel group called the Republican Forces of Burundi.
Lieutenant Colonel Edouard Nshimirimana formed the rebel movement with the aim to protect those Burundians who are protesting and being killed by the government.
Burundi has been in a state of civil strife since the president, Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid for a third term in April, which is considered to be unconstitutional. He was then re-elected in July after contested elections which increased the protests and subsequent violence in the country. According to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights OHCHR the death toll is at least 400 people and around 3,500 individuals have been arrested. Neighbouring countries are currently hosting 220,000 refugees and countless others are internally displaced.
Before Nshimirimana defected in September – at the time he was running the military transmissions and communications in Burundi.
“We are calling on all Burundians who believe in the rule of law to join us,” Nshimirimana said.
“We have no choice and the world is not helping Burundians who are being killed,” he continued.
The presidential press chief, Willy Nyamitwe, said the rebel movement “won’t last long.”
“This is not the first rebel movement that was born in Burundi, there have been others before it,” Nyamitwe said.