Bureau Chief, Egypt & Sudan
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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.

May 1, 2015

Burundi president warns of ‘severe sanctions’ against protesters

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza warned on Friday of tough measures against those staging protests against his decision to seek a third term, a move opponents say violates the constitution and endangers a peace deal.

Chanting anti-Nkurunziza songs and blocking a road with boulders, hundreds of protesters gathered in Bujumbura’s southern suburb of Musaga on Friday, the sixth day of protests. Unlike previous days, there were no scuffles with police.

May 1, 2015

Hundreds of students seek refuge outside U.S. embassy in Burundi

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – Hundreds of students from a Burundi university shuttered by the government were seeking refuge outside the U.S. embassy in the capital on Friday, amid unrest and escalating tensions ahead of the June 26 presidential vote.

The east African nation has been rocked by days of protests triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term, a move opponents say violates the constitution and a peace deal that ended an ethnically charged civil war in 2005.

Apr 30, 2015

U.S. tells Burundi’s president his country risks boiling over

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – A senior U.S. diplomat told Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza on Thursday that the east African country risks boiling over if it smothers political opposition, as protests against the president entered a fifth day.

The Burundi Red Cross said 15 protesters were injured during clashes with the police on Thursday. Some suffered bullet wounds, said one activist. Late in the day a soldier was killed by unknown gunmen, who were arrested.

Apr 30, 2015

Analysis – Burundi’s patchwork army faces test to keep the peace

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – When protesters in Burundi cheer for soldiers who turn up at demonstrations against the president’s bid for a third term, it is redolent of uprisings further north in Africa where the military was hailed as friend not foe.

But deploying the army on the streets of Burundi may carry higher stakes than when generals intervened in Cairo and Tunis in 2011 and Ougadougou in 2014 to turf out veteran leaders.

Apr 30, 2015

United States says Burundi risks boiling over if political opposition stifled

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – A senior U.S. diplomat told Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, on Thursday that the east African country risks boiling over if it stifles political opposition, as protests against the president entered a fifth day.

Tom Malinowski, U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, arrived in Burundi on Wednesday to try to help halt escalating unrest and defuse the country’s biggest crisis in years, set off by Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office.

Apr 29, 2015

U.S. diplomat in Burundi amid anti-president protests

BUJUMBURA (Reuters) – A senior U.S. diplomat arrived in Burundi on Wednesday to try to help halt escalating unrest and defuse the country’s biggest crisis in years, set off by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term.

Police in the east African nation have clashed for four days with protesters who say Nkurunziza’s plan to run again in the June 26 election violates the constitution and threatens a peace deal that ended the ethnically fuelled civil conflict.

    • 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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