Government-backed death squads have killed more than 300 members of Burundi’s former rebel group and opposition supporters in covert operations over the past five months, a rights group said. The group, Government Action Observatory, a coalition of civil society groups, said the Central African country’s regime and its proxies have waged a systematic campaign of extrajudicial killings against the former rebels, who went back to the bush after pulling out of 2010 polls over fraud claims.

Burundian troops killed 18 gunmen in fierce clashes, a government official said on Tuesday 22 November, stoking fears that a new rebellion may erupt in the central African nation. The coffee-producing country has enjoyed relative peace since the Hutu rebel group, Forces for National Liberation, laid down its weapons and joined the government in 2009 after almost two decades of war. But attacks on civilians and soldiers have intensified since elections last year were widely boycotted by the op...read more

Many teachers in the eastern Burundian provinces of Ruyigi and Cankuzo have fled their homes, fearing for their lives. Rumour has it that a plan, codenamed ‘Safisha’ and allegedly being carried out by the ruling CNDD-FDD party, aims to eliminate all opposition members. In the local dialect, ‘safisha’ means ‘to cleanse’.

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has sacked six ministers from his cabinet for poor performance, his spokesman said. When he was sworn in for his five-year second term, President Nkurunziza said that each government official will report on tasks accomplished every six months, adding that those who failed to do so would be fired.

Burundi has retained the top position as the most bribery prone country in East Africa, according to the East African Bribery Index 2011. Burundi has a bribery prevalence level of 37.9 per cent up from 36.7 per cent in 2010, while Uganda and Tanzania have been ranked second and third at 33.9 per cent and 31.6 per cent respectively, both up from 33 per cent and 28.6 per cent in 2010.