News BlogCentral Southern Africa

In Burundi, an atmosphere of terror. “We knocked on the door of houses, we targeted”, Maggy Barankitse

(credit: RTBF)

(B2)" On Friday we knocked on the doors of houses, we targeted the houses, we knew the houses. And we even targeted the houses of Tutsis. (…) We can't kill our children. These pictures are a scandal! (…) This is very serious. When killing them they said 'call the European Union', 'call the United States', 'call Kagame'. (…) How a head of state can assassinate in full view of everyone. What arrogance! »

The speaker is Maggy Barankitse, interviewed by our colleagues from the RTBF. A charismatic personality! The “mom” of Burundi. She notably took in Hutu and Tutsi orphans during the civil war which struck Burundi in 1993. She was thought to be almost untouchable as she is so famous in Rwanda. She fled today, taking refuge in Belgium. And the shalom house that she created saw its activities stopped.

The Brain: the president Nkurunziza

Maggy Barankitse does not hesitate, she does not mince her words. “ The Brain is Nkurunziza. President. He is the sponsor. The International Criminal Court must react today before it is too late. We have to stop him. (…) They say, we don’t know where to start. Because the country is sovereign. So you accept that we kill our children, that we are killed, that we are exiled. We come here to beg. So that we could live in conviviality. »

Burundi is very small A politico-ethnic genocide

“It’s a political-ethnic genocide. He will choose all those who refused a third term.” And to criticize the international community, particularly Europe, for its inaction. “Have you not been to Syria? Didn't you go to Libya? Why don't you go to Burundi? Burundi is very small. There is no oil. But there are your brothers and sisters, your children. There is the greatest wealth that humanity has: it is the human person. It's not oil, it's not diamonds. There is more than the diamond, there is more than that, there is more than that...".

Europe looks away

Listen here, listen again! Because Maggy is not wrong. Inaction seems to be the rule. Europe – which has other things to do – looks away and relies on the UN, which relies on the African Union, which is waiting to be given the means or a green light. EU foreign ministers met on Monday. They have not even managed to officially raise this issue on the agenda, to strongly condemn what is happening in Burundi. They were content to call for political dialogue (read on B2 pro: Europe encourages Burundi to engage in political dialogue. A bit short ?). Incredible cowardice.

Burundi is too small

Maggy Barankitse is right. The " Burundi is very small ". He doesn't threaten anyone. That its inhabitants die is not a big deal in a way. In any case, much less than a boat drowning off the European coast... If the European Union, meeting at the highest level these days, does not find a way to send a firm condemnation , unequivocally, on the other hand to react other than with three words, is that there is no point in talking about human rights, about the role in the world, about security strategy, about having peacekeeping capabilities to react in the event of a crisis (see box)... It is of no use if we are not even remotely capable of acting on Burundi.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

The European battlegroup: a toy to make it beautiful!

It is currently the French and Belgians who are ensuring the permanence of the European rapid reaction force until the end of December. We can understand that there are technical-political considerations which prevent the deployment of this battlegroup. Overdose of commitment for the French, political-historical constraints for the Belgians with dramatic memories of Rwanda for both. But the next battlegroup could deploy. He's ready, at least theoretically. This is the battlegroup of Visegrad, the V4 (Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia). You know these countries that speak loud and clear when it comes to Ukraine, refugees, the Euro Zone, others who do not respect the rules. Then who come to whine in the bosom of NATO or that of Europe to have tanks, men, anti-aircraft batteries, planes to strengthen their defenses and thus flex their muscles with the Russians. Countries that we generally no longer see when it comes to action! As soon as it comes to being united! For them, the battlegroup is a toy, intended to look good!

NB: Some readers may be shocked. We do not usually publish 'violent' images. There we can't do otherwise...

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).