Bureau Chief, Egypt & Sudan
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May 21, 2015

Insight – Burundi ruling party youth rattles nerves in ethnic tinderbox

NGOZI, Burundi (Reuters) – In the Burundian president’s rural stronghold, his party’s youth wing dismisses the fears of those who have fled the east African nation that it is gathering arms and sharpening knives for a new bout of ethnic bloodletting.

“Whoever has a machete uses it for cultivating, not for other purposes,” said Patrice Barutwanajo, 28, a member of the so-called Imbonerakure in Ngozi in northern Burundi. “It is impossible to say that people have machetes for killing.”

May 21, 2015

Burundi ruling party youth rattles nerves in ethnic tinderbox

NGOZI, Burundi (Reuters) – In the Burundian president’s rural stronghold, his party’s youth wing dismisses the fears of those who have fled the east African nation that it is gathering arms and sharpening knives for a new bout of ethnic bloodletting.

“Whoever has a machete uses it for cultivating, not for other purposes,” said Patrice Barutwanajo, 28, a member of the so-called Imbonerakure in Ngozi in northern Burundi. “It is impossible to say that people have machetes for killing.”

May 21, 2015

Two killed in running street battles in Burundi’s capital

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Street battles and gunfire erupted again in the capital on Thursday as protesters against President Pierre Nkurunziza rejected his calls for calm in Burundi, an ethnic tinderbox with a history of civil war and genocide.

The Burundi Red Cross said two protesters were killed as soldiers and police fired tear gas and shots in the air in confrontations with scores of young men throwing rocks and burning makeshift barricades in the roads.

May 21, 2015

Street clashes, gunfire erupt again in Burundi capital

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Street battles and gunfire erupted again in the Burundi capital on Thursday as protesters against President Pierre Nkurunziza rejected his calls for calm in the east African nation, an ethnic tinderbox with a long history of civil war and genocide.

Soldiers and police fired tear gas and warning shots in the air as they faced off against scores of young men throwing rocks and burning makeshift barricades in the roads, Reuters witnesses said.

May 20, 2015

President delays Burundi elections, more shooting in capital

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Burundi’s president pushed back parliamentary and local elections to June 5 on Wednesday and further clashes between police and protesters broke out in a power struggle threatening to unleash more ethnic bloodshed in Africa’s Great Lakes region.

President Pierre Nkurunziza said the parliamentary and council vote would be postponed from May 26. His decree made no mention of the weeks of unrest in the capital Bujumbura or last week’s failed coup.

May 19, 2015

Burundi police fire tear gas, beat anti-president protesters

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Burundi police fired tear gas and beat protesters who were demanding President Pierre Nkurunziza end his bid for a third term, in a resurgence of unrest has stoked fears of ethnic conflict in Africa’s Great Lakes.

A Reuters photographer said at least eight of the flag-waving and chanting demonstrators were dragged off by police on Tuesday. Some in the crowd responded by pelting officers with stones and rocks.

May 14, 2015

Army rifts could push Burundi back to conflict after coup bid

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Crowds cheered and hugged soldiers on the streets of Burundi’s capital when a general announced he had sacked the president for seeking an unconstitutional third term, but celebrations were quickly quashed when another general said the coup had failed.

The crisis has highlighted alarming divisions in Burundi’s patchwork military, a symbol of reconciliation as it absorbed one-time enemies that now risks being torn apart by rivalries in a nation still scarred by an ethnically fueled civil war a decade ago.

May 14, 2015

Analysis – Army rifts could push Burundi back to conflict after coup bid

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Crowds cheered and hugged soldiers on the streets of Burundi’s capital when a general announced he had sacked the president for seeking an unconstitutional third term, but celebrations were quickly quashed when another general said the coup had failed.

The crisis has highlighted alarming divisions in Burundi’s patchwork military, a symbol of reconciliation as it absorbed one-time enemies that now risks being torn apart by rivalries in a nation still scarred by an ethnically fuelled civil war a decade ago.

May 7, 2015

Burundi president talks unity, critics say actions divide

BUYE, Burundi (Reuters) – Deep in Burundi’s countryside, a rutted dirt road turns to smooth tarmac for a few hundred metres, leading to a smart 8,000-seat sports stadium that emerges incongruously out of the bush right next to the president’s villa.

Home to a football academy sponsored by Pierre Nkurunziza, the facility is part of the rebel-turned-president’s stated mission to bind together a grindingly poor nation shattered by an ethnically fuelled civil war a decade ago.

May 7, 2015

Somali Islamists driven into north, south pockets: U.N. envoy

NAIROBI (Reuters) – A military offensive has driven Somalia’s al Shabaab Islamist group out of major strongholds and deprived it of revenue sources, but its retreat to a southern valley and northern hills still poses a threat, the U.N. envoy to Somalia said.

The African Union’s AMISOM peacekeeping force and Somali soldiers have pushed the group, which wants to topple the Western-backed government, into smaller pockets of territory since launching an offensive last year.

    • About Edmund

      "Responsible for Reuters coverage from Egypt and Sudan, and overseeing operations of the Cairo-based Reuters Arabic language service. Previously was Bureau Chief, Iran. Have worked throughout the Middle East for most of the past 15 years, including covering the Iraq war and Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Have also covered financial and energy affairs, holding positions that inlude equities reporter in London."
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