Rwanda: Grenading The Opposition


July 15, 2010: Rwandan opposition continues to complain that it is being targeted by the government. The opposition points to a number of violent incidents over the last six months. The latest is the death of Democratic Green Party activist Andre Kagwa Rwisereka. Rwandan police claim he was killed in a robbery attempt. That's not the way the Democratic Greens see it. In June a former senior officer in the Rwandan Army was shot in South Africa. Lieutenant General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa is on the outs with his former boss, Rwandan president Paul Kagame. Nyamwasa's supporters say the shooting was an assassination attempt ordered by the government. The government calls the charge a lie.

July 12, 2010: Burundi placed its military on alert following terror attacks in Uganda. The attacks were made by the Somalia-based Al Shbab Islamist terror group. Burundi, like Uganda, has troops serving with African Union peace keeping forces in Somalia.

July 3, 2010: Opposition leaders in Burundi describe the security situation in their country as rapidly deteriorating in the wake of claimed massive election fraud in May. They claim the government is clamping down on opposition activity. The government responds by saying that in June Burundi suffered around 60 grenade attacks, which wounded between 50 and 60 people. Many of the grenade attacks were directed at the ruling National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces For Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party's offices. Two members of the CNDD-FDD were slain in the grenade attacks. One opposition politician was killed.

July 1, 2010: Rwandan, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda announced that the East African Community (which was a customs union) is now a common market promoting free trade among the members. The group plans to create a monetary union in 2012 and being using a common currency by sometime in 2015. Combined the five countries have around 130 million people. The new EAC has a legal as well as economic angle. The five countries are discussing ways to create common laws to make contracting and transportation easier. Eventually EAC citizens will be able to travel from country to country without visas or passports-- very similar to the European Union.

July 1, 2010: Burundi's electoral board declared that the only candidate in the June 28 presidential election won. President Pierre Nkurunziza received over 90 percent of the votes. The election had a 77 percent voter turnout.

June 29, 2010: The Ugandan Army claimed that Rwanda is building up its forces along the Ugandan-Rwandan border. Rwanda denied the claim.

June 22, 2010: Hand grenades were thrown into a bar in the capital of Burundi, Bujumbura, killing two and wounding eight. It was the second major hand grenade attack in the capital in the last five days.

June 21, 2010: Gunmen in Sudan's Darfur region attacked a group of Rwandan peacekeepers who are serving with the UN-African Union UNAMID peacekeeping force. Three Rwandan soldiers were killed and one wounded. The attack took place in the village of Nertiti (West Darfur, Jebel Marra region). The peacekeepers were guarding a developmental aid project. UNAMID said three of the attackers died in the firefight.

June 13, 2010: The charges of election fraud in the May 24th local elections continue to trouble Burundi. An opposition coalition group is demanding that the elections be held again. The group is called the Alliance of Democrats for Change (ADC). The big worry is that the electoral fraud accusations could escalate into violence and reignite the civil war. International election observers have generally viewed the local elections as fair, with only minor problems. In central Africa, that has to count as a good election. The trouble is the losers disagree and some of the losers were, until recently, armed guerrillas.






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