Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has lashed out at “foreigners” saying they are the ones fueling the ongoing civil strife in Burundi with the intention of gaining access to the country’s mineral resources.
Addressing officials from Kayogoro community on Saturday, Nkurunziza is reported to have accused the international community of dividing Hutus and Tutsis in Burundi hoping they would kill each other and leave foreigners to manage the country’s vast resources.
“This international community is dividing the Burundian people to exploit the nickel of Burundi,” Nkurunziza said, according to ENCA.
Prior to that, the Burundian president is reported to have criticized the West on Thursday, calling them criminals and benefactors who came to Burundi under the pretext of providing foreign aid.
He further claimed that Burundi can no longer rely on foreign donations since “the foreigners were not good friends to Burundi.”
Social Media Criticism
Nkurunziza’s utterances have a caused social media uproar, with many people finding his words pitiful.
— Florent Nduwayo (@FNduwayoOnline) June 27, 2016
However, Nkurunziza’s supporters seem to agree with him in castigating the international community.
Pierre Nkurunziza is the rightly elected president of Burundi, efforts to uproot him by Rwanda and foreigners, KE included, sad!
— Mwaka Daniel (@Mwaxton) December 11, 2015
Some government officials in Burundi including the CEO of Press Publications and former Vice-President Advisor Mr. Luis Kamwenubusa have accused the international community of using the country’s civil society to cause instability.
Nkurunziza current criticism of the international community has been interpreted as a way of hitting back at foreign countries that have withdrawn foreign aid to Burundi in an attempt to compel Nkurunziza’s government to stop the ongoing conflicts, which many fear could plunge Burundi into a second civil war.
In March, the European Union suspended its direct financial aid to Burundi, citing insincerity and laxity in ending the current acts of political violence by the Burundian government.
However, the government of Burundi, through its foreign minister Alain Nyamitwe, downplayed EU’s action saying it would not affect the government’s functions in any way.
“There is a way of living otherwise; the government will continue running,” the Minister told the Guardian.
On its part, the European Council provided the Burundian government with a number of proposals, which it insists must be fulfilled before full cooperation is resumed.
The ongoing civil strife in Burundi has already claimed hundreds of lives and left thousands displaced. It broke out in April last year after the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for office for a third term – a decision that was widely criticized by many observers, termed it unconstitutional.