Hotspot Micro-Report


The situation in Burundi remains fragile amidst deteriorating security where fighting between government and rebel troops has spread to 16 out of Burundi’s 17 provinces.  These areas are facing looting, banditry, and armed fighting and hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced and others have sought refuge in neighboring countries. Inside Burundi, the civilian population remains at risk with aid agencies unable to provide assistance to civilians in the conflict zones. Both rebel and government troops have deliberately attacked civilians, rape has begun to emerge as a weapon of war, and child soldiers are used by both rebel and government troops.

 The civil war in Burundi has claimed over 300,000 lives since it started in 1993. The war was sparked by the assassination of the nation’s first democratically elected president, Melchior Ndadaye. It was hoped that a ceasefire signed in December 2002, which brought together 19 Hutu and Tusti parties would bring the conflict to an end. Fighting however continues between rebels and government troops.  The rebels rejected a ceasefire that ushered in a new Hutu-led administration that took over from President Pierre Buyoya in May this year.


The capital Bujumbura has since the 7th of July, been subject to mortar attacks by two rebel groups- the CNDD-FDD and the FNL-Rwasa faction. To date, over 174 people have been killed in the mortar attacks and over 40,000 civilians displaced in the latest fighting in Bujumbura.

Recently, President Domitien Ndayizeye declared the government’s intention to bolster the army in its efforts to defend Burundians. This is seen as a response to the lack of implementation of the ceasefire agreement where three out of four rebel groups currently fighting are signatories to the agreement. The FNL (a non-signatory to the Arusha accords) shows no signs of coming to the negotiating table, with statements issued stating their refusal to negotiate with the current government regardless of concessions or conditions. 

Burundi has a history of ethnically based massacres. While the current government has begun to introduce ethnically equitable power sharing, the situation warrants close monitoring to ensure that there are no renewed genocidal type massacres.

Evidence of Abuse and Danger
  • Rape as a weapon (UN IRIN, HRW)
  • Forcible recruitment of children under 18 years (UN IRIN, Reuters, Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers)
  • Deliberate targeting of civilians (UN IRIN, Amnesty International)
  • Extra-judicial killings (Amnesty International, Reuters)
Field contacts Verification
  1. International Press/Media
  2. Embassies
  3. International Human Rights NGOs
  4. International Relief NGOs

International Contacts:

UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

World Food Program (WFP)

UN Secretary-General’s Office

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

US Contacts:

State Department

State emergency task force

Congress and Senate

Sub-Committee and caucus-committee for human rights

Sub Committee on Africa

Foreign Ministries:

US Embassy

Embassy of Burundi

Embassy of France

Embassy of Denmark

Embassy of Iceland

Embassy of Norway

Embassy of Sweden

Embassy of Finland

Embassy of European Union

Embassy of United Kingdom


International Crisis Group

Int. Committee for Red Cross

Save the Children Fund

International Rescue Committee


Missions to the UN Security Council:

French Embassy

US Embassy

UK Embassy

Rwanda Embassy

Uganda Embassy

Embassy of Chile

Embassy of China

Embassy of Cameroon

Embassy of Bulgaria

Embassy of Angola

Embassy of the United Kingdom

Embassy of SyrianArab Republic

Embassy of Spain

Embassy of the Russian Federation

Embassy of Pakistan

Embassy of Guinea

Embassy of Mexico

Embassy of Germany



Washington Post

Washington Times

LA Times

Chicago Tribune




The East African

The Monitor, Uganda


Latest News Links

Rebel Leaders Set Conditions for Cantonment
June 4, 2003

Halfway Through Transitional Period, Peace Remains Elusive
May 30, 2003

Burundi Rebels Threaten to Attack African Peacekeepers
May 26, 2003

Transition in Burundi: Time to deliver
April 30, 2003

Fighting Intensifies Amid Power Shift
April 30, 2003

Three killed in Burundi rebel attacks
March 19, 2003

Unwilling Burundi parties not peace loving, says Zuma
Feburary 12, 2003

The Devil is in the Details/
February 9, 2003


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