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Rape as a Weapon of War in Burundi: where are the East African Presidents?

Editorial

Rape as a Weapon of War in Burundi: where are the East African Presidents?

Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza

Burundi’s Pierre Nkurunziza



Where are the African solutions to African problems dear leaders!   A heartbreaking story about inhuman treatment of women in Burundi has been published by many media outlets all over the world and it is shocking.

First published byWomen & Girls Hub, has to be read to be believed and only a few excerpts from the article will help to understand the suffering and pain Burundi women go through every day and every night.

Women are being raped as punishment for allegedly ‘not supporting Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza’.Women & Girls Hub followed some of the victims who fled and are now living in camps in Tanzania and wrote the following from Kibondo camp: ‘The men who stormed into Sophie’s home in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura shot her husband dead and then gang-raped her on the floor beside his body.

They told Sophie that they had killed her husband, a senior army figure, for not supporting Burundi’s embattled President Pierre Nkurunziza and that she would “pay for his mistake.””They told me, ‘Now you will also see,'” and then three men raped her until she blacked out, she says, speaking in hushed tones as she sits in a tent in Tanzania’s packed Nduta refugee camp.Sophie woke up in hospital to be told that she should flee Burundi. In March, she made it across the border to Tanzania.

Women & Girls Hubfurther reports that Daytime demonstrations on the streets of Bujumbura are usually met with nighttime raids by armed youths gangs called the Imbonerakure, who go door-to-door in residential neighborhoods around the country raping, murdering and looting.

“‘Sandra’s husband answered the door to the men demanding to know which political party they supported, but started beating him before he could reply.They found Sandra hiding in her bed, told her to get out, then threw her back into it and raped her. “Are you really accepting the president?” they asked her. When she tried to reply, they would hit on the head with their machetes.

“After they raped me, they asked me to bring them money and when we didn’t have any, they took my clothes,” she says.

When they left, Sandra found her husband blindfolded, but alive. Their five-year-old son was dead, his throat slit'”

The article quotes many similar stories and yet President Nkurunziza has rejected a UN police force sent into the country to monitor events.

Unfortunately, Africans haven’t been able to provide an African solution to this shameful and inhuman problem. So why do African leaders keep on telling the world that they should be left to provide African solutions to their African problems if they can’t protect Burundi women from rapists and murderers?

If East African leaders can’t end carnage in Burundi or Southern Sudan, what problem are they capable of solving? Or is it because they are all the same, presiding over the same crimes in their own countries and therefore fear to open cans of worms?

It’s a real shame that African leaders, especially East African leaders, can look away when crimes against humanity are going on in their own backyards.

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