February 20, 2012: Burundi has earned political respect for its participation in the African Union’s peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM). Burundi currently deploys 4,400 soldiers in Somalia. However, Burundi’s human rights record remains miserable and the European Union is once again criticizing Burundi for this bad behavior. EU diplomats are calling the continued string of killings extrajudicial murders, which of course implies the government is involved. The UN reported that 57 extrajudicial murders or murders that rated as highly suspicious occurred in 2011. That’s fewer than some human rights groups claimed (300, in Fall 2011).
February 15, 2012: Rwanda has signed on with a US-backed strategy to defeat the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) militia. The FDLR still operates in the eastern Congo (North and South Kivu provinces). The UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) also supports the joint effort to cut FDLR finances, smuggling operations, and attacks. The US and UN want to try to create a cooperative security arrangement to defeat the FDLR, one that is similar to the multi-lateral cooperative agreement Uganda and the US worked out to fight the Lord's Resistance Army.
February 8, 2012: Burundi arrested Faustin Ndikumana the leader of PARCEM, an anti-corruption group that had recently accused several judges of seeking bribes.
February 6, 2012: The Rwandan government claimed that the country’s poverty rate had dropped to 45 percent from 57 percent in 2007. If true, this is a major achievement. Rwanda’s population is around 11 million.
January 28, 2012: A Burundian court convicted 16 people of participating in the fateful September 2011, terror attack on a bar in a town near Bujumbura. That attack left 36 people dead. Seven of the people convicted received life sentences. The government also indicated that it believes former National Liberation Forces (FNL) leader Agathon Rwasa was involved in the attack. Rwasa is currently in hiding.
January 24, 2012: Tanzania released Burundian opposition leader Alexis Sinduhije from custody. The Burundian government had asked Tanaznia to arrest him in early January (for extradition to Burundi) on accusations of supporting a renewed rebellion by the FNL. Tanzania sent Sinduhije to Uganda. Sinduhije leads the Movement for Solidarity and Development (MSD) opposition group.
January 18, 2012: Rwanda suspended then arrested four senior military officers. The officers are under investigation for being involved in the illegal sale or smuggling of Congolese minerals (conflict minerals). International investigators have claimed for years that Ugandan and Rwandan officers have either participated in smuggling Congolese operations or turned a blind eye to them. One of the men arrested was a senior intelligence officer, General Richard Rutatina. A division commander and a senior intelligence colonel were also arrested. Last year the Rwandan government and the Congo agreed to crack down on mineral smuggling. These arrests indicate that Rwanda is doing so.
January 13, 2012: Rwandan authorities reported that 22 people have been convicted of conducting grenade attacks in Rwanda since 2008.
January 4, 2012: Two people were killed and 16 were wounded in a grenade attack in Kigali, Rwanda. The government and the Rwanda National Congress opposition party both condemned the attacks.