Exclusive – Burundi to Withdraw its Troops From CAR and Somalia [analysis] (allAfrica.com)

As in Burundi the crackdown on those opposing or even questioning the third term for Pierre Nkurunziza continued, a journalist covering the killing of Adolphe Nshimirimana was beaten by security forces, and human rights defender Pierre Claver Mbonimpa was attacked.

The UN has yet to name a replacement for its last envoy Bathily, rejected by Nkurunziza; the president of the Security Council for August, Nigeria’s Joy Ogwu, answered Inner City Press late on August 10 that the naming of an envoy is “imminent,” to maintain “momentum.” Elements to the press were read out, see below.

Well placed sources exclusively told Inner City Press that the threat is, if any sanctions are imposed, to pull Burundi’s peacekeepers from the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, and from the AU mission in Somalia.

This type of linkage has worked before with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, for example in the case of Bangladesh, with Inner City Press also closely covered.

Here were the Press Elements read out by UNSC President Joy Ogwu on August 10, and Inner City Press’ question and her answer:

“Security Council members took note of the political and humanitarian situations in the country They collectively condemned the assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimana on August 2 and the attempted assassination of Pierre Claver Mbonimpa the next day.

“Together, they urged the government of Burundi to carry out an independent investigation into these acts and to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

“Council members expressed their deep concern on the political and security situations in Burundi, and called for an immediate resumption of inclusive dialogue in order to achieve lasting peace in the country. They called on the government to facilitate this process. Council members support a mediation route and called for support for the peace efforts. Finally, Council members welcomed the intention of the Secretary General to dispatch a high level official to the country.

Inner City Press: Can you say more about the high level official? Imminent?

A: It is imminent, because we want to sustain the momentum. Thank you.

On August 10 as the Burundi meeting began, the lobbying of (some UNSC ambassadors was to attend a lunch at Reuters with John Kerry, here. And so it goes.

Earlier on August 10, Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the crackdown including police abductions in the Jabe neighborhood of Bujumbura, when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will name and send a new envoy and what Ban would like to see out of the Security Council meeting scheduled for the afternoon of August 10.Video here.

Dujarric had no update on an envoy; Pressed, he said that the UN has a central office in Bujumbura which victim could contact.

There are names of the abducted, and photographs. We’ll have more on this.

On August 7, Inner City Press asked US Ambassador Samantha Power, at the end of a question and answer stakeout, if the UN should name a new envoy to Burundi. Video here. Power paused and replied, “I’m sure they will, I expect them to.”

Minutes later at the UN noon briefing, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, “Are there any moves afoot to do this?”

Back on August 6 at the UN noon briefing, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric disclosed that the previous day, Ban had spoken with Nkurunziza. Inner City Press immediately asked if Ban had raised to Nkurunziza the prospect of a new UN envoy or person to lead up the UN’s work; Dujarric would not answer this.Video here. Audio here.

For the UN Burundi is handled by the African I Division of the UN Department of Political Affairs; Inner City Press asked Dujarric about its scoop, that the outgoing president of the UN General Assembly Sam Kutesa, still the foreign minister of Uganda, has asked Ban’s chef de cabinet Susana Malcorra to put his chief of staff, Arthur Kafeero, atop UN Africa 1. Dujarric would not even describe the status of recruitment.

Back on August 3, Inner City Press asked UN Secreaty General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric about Nkurunziza’s security forces beating and torturing journalist Esdras Ndikumana. Video here.

Ban’s spokesman said the UN was aware. But why wasn’t it included in Ban’s statement that day praising Nkurunziza?

On August 4, Inner City Press asked Ban’s deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq about the future of the MENUB mission, if the UN had visited Mbonimpa or tried to ensure protection for his family, and about the status of any mediation.

While it appears that no UN visit to Mbonimpa has been made, Haq in his answer to Inner City Press say that the UN will “hopefully sometime in the near future announce someone who can lead the UN efforts on Burundi.”

The questions came rolling in, to Inner City Press and presumably to the UN: who? When? Could the third time, after Said Djinnit then Bathily, be the charm? We’ll have more on this.

On August 3, the UN put out this “read-out” of Ban’s work on Burundi:

“The Secretary-General held a conference call today with H.E. Mr. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, and H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to discuss the situation in Burundi.

The Secretary-General reiterated his strong condemnation of the killing, this weekend, of General Adolphe Nshimirimana and expressed his concern over its implications for security in Burundi. He expressed his full support for President Museveni’s efforts to facilitate an inclusive political dialogue in Burundi on behalf of the East African Community.

We’ll stay on this.

Here was Ban’s belated statement:

“The Secretary-General notes with great concern the continuing deterioration of the security environment in Burundi following an electoral period marked by violence and the violation of human rights, including the right to life.

“In this context, the Secretary-General strongly condemns the killing of General Adolphe Nshimirimana on 2 August. He welcomes President Nkurunziza’s message to the nation to remain calm and to the competent authorities to expeditiously investigate this assassination in order to bring the perpetrators to justice. He calls on the Burundian authorities to investigate diligently other recent political assassinations.

After Dujarric read out the belated statement, Inner City Press asked about government security beating journalist Esdras Ndikumana. Dujarric indicated that the UN system is aware. But why then was it not in Ban’s statement praising Nkurunziza? It’s like Ban calling the elections “broadly peaceful.”

With Ban slated to be in the UN press briefing room less than an hour later, Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access asked why Ban would not taken even a single question. Video here; Periscope here. That question remains, and will be pursued.

The US State Department statement, calling for restraint, said:

“The United States condemns the murder of General Adolphe Nshimirimana in Bujumbura today and urges calm and restraint in the aftermath of the attack. We call on all sides to renounce violence and to redouble their efforts to engage in a transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive political dialogue.

But where was Ban Ki-moon? He was not at the UN on August 2 with many countries’ Permanent Representatives, working on and agreeing to a post-2015 development agenda text. But he quickly issued a statement on that, and seemed sure to brag about it with US President Barack Obama on August 4. But still silent on Burundi.

After the government refused to attend the East African Community mediation sessions, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on July 23 blithely “took note” of what he called the “broadly peaceful conduct of polling.”

On July 28 the UN Security Council belatedly held closed door consultations about Burundi, the Council’s first meeting on the country since July 9. Before the meeting ended, the Ambassador of France, the penholder of the Council on Burundi, had left. While the session was closed, afterward Inner City Press asked participants both on and off the record what was said.

Inner City Press on background was told that the idea of a shortened third term for Nkurunziza had been raised in the meeting. On the record, at the UN Television stakeout, Inner City Press asked the Council’s president for July Gerard von Bohemen of New Zealand if this had arisen.

From the New Zealand mission’s transcription:

Inner City Press: Burundi, I wanted to ask you whether there was any discussion of a government of national unity and in connection with that a possible short third term?

A: There was a strong support for the idea of a government of national unity. It’s recognised that there isn’t consensus as to what that might mean. There was reference by the Assistant-Secretary-General that for some that means a shorter third term but it’s not clear that that’s an accepted parameter for anybody at this stage.

On July 27, Inner City Press attended – after an initial request to keep it out – the UN Peacebuilding Configuration meeting on Burundi, then went and asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: On Burundi, I wanted to ask, there was a peacebuilding configuration meeting in Conference Room 5 and the representative of, I guess, the UN’s Human Rights Office said there is now, since 22 July, six AU [African Union] human rights monitors in the country, but the UN has no contact with them, because the Government hasn’t somehow permitted it. I wanted to know, one, is it the UN system they can’t… I heard you from in podium say repeatedly how the UN works with the AU, likes the AU, the AU is going to solve it, why would it be the UN can’t contact the human rights monitors of the AU? And does Ban Ki-moon acknowledge that there is some… his statement about broadly peaceful is inconsistent as perceived with the MENUB report just out this hour?

While seven hours later no information was provided, Inner City Press at 4:30 pm on July 27 asked the President of the UN Security Council for July, Gerard von Bohemen of New Zealand, if finally there would be a Security Council meeting on Burundi (the first since July 9), now that the MENUB report was out. Yes, he said, there’d be consultations on July 28 at 3 pm.

The briefers will be Department of Political Affairs official Taye-Brook Zerihoun and MENUB Officer in Charge Issaka Souna, by video from Bujumbura. We’ll be there.

Inner City Press on July 23 asked one of Ban’s Associate Spokespeople Vannina Maestracci on what basis Ban “noted” as he did a “peaceful conduct of polling,” while she continued to say wait for the UN’s MENUB mission’s report. Video here. She said she would not “dissect every word” of Ban’s statement. How about one word: peaceful?

On July 24, after Nkurunziza was declared the winner and the East African Community said it was neither free nor fair, Inner City Press asked another UN spokesperson at the day’s noon briefing what Ban had meant by “broadly peaceful,” in light of the EAC finding and for example an Amnesty International report on abuses.

This spokesperson said that given Ban’s previously warnings of violence, he had been “relatively speaking” by saying things were peaceful. Video here.

Finally Inner City Press asked where Ban is, “taking note.” Ban is “away from the office,” while his Public Schedule continues to say “all appointments are internal.”

The day before on July 22 Inner City Press at the UN noon briefing asked the UN what it was doing:

Inner City Press: yesterday, I’d asked Farhan about these reports of at least two deaths during the voting, and he said that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had these four monitoring teams out. I understand it takes them a few days to put together their electoral assessment. But, does that side of the UN have anything to say about actual physical violence directed at those voting or not voting?

While still waiting, Ban Ki-moon on July 23 issued this statement:

“The Secretary-General takes note of the broadly peaceful conduct of polling in the Burundian presidential elections on 21 July. He calls on all parties to continue to remain calm and immediately resume an inclusive political dialogue to resolve their differences and address the challenges facing the country. “The Secretary-General reminds the Burundian authorities of their responsibility to guarantee and protect the safety and security of the civilian population and ensure an end to further acts of violence as well as accountability for any human rights violations committed. “The Secretary-General calls on the Burundian parties to engage in good faith in the political dialogue putting Burundi’s national interests first and fully determined to implement the relevant outstanding provisions of the 6 July East African Community (EAC) summit outcome document, under the high-level facilitation of President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda. The United Nations remains committed to working closely with the EAC and African Union (AU) to help find a lasting solution in Burundi. “In this regard, the Secretary-General welcomes the deployment of AU human rights observers and military experts aimed at helping prevent an escalation of violence and facilitating a peaceful resolution of the serious political crisis affecting Burundi.

Also on July 22, Inner City Press asked Ambassador Francois Delattre of France, the “penholder” in the UN Security Council on Burundi, if there would be a briefing about the situation there. “I will think about that,” he said. (Inner City Press asked again on July 23 and got a laugh, perhaps out of politeness.)

Later on July 22, Inner City Press asked the Security Council’s president for July, Ambassador Gerard von Bohemen of New Zealand, if there would be a briefing on Burundi, from MENUB. From the NZ UN transcript:

Inner City Press: About Burundi, now that this election took place, some people were killed during it, is there going to be any kind of Council briefing or to hear from MENUB their review of it?

A: So we’re waiting to hear back from MENUB so then we’ll be in a better position to make a decision about when next to discuss the issue.

On June 21 Inner City Press asked the Deputy Spokesperson, video here, transcript here:

Inner City Press: in Burundi, there are reports of a number of deaths that have taken place during the day’s polling, and I’m wondering, is that something that the UN, either the human rights side or MENUB, can confirm at this time before they issue a written report?

Back on June 29 along with a question about climate change Inner City Press asked Ban Ki-moon about Burundi, and if the UN is observing. Video here. From the UN’s own transcript:

Inner City Press: Because it is the day of the election in Burundi, I have to ask this, where does it stand for the international community for an election that is taking place without any observers, what can be done? What is the next step forward?

SG Ban Ki-moon: “Let me briefly answer your question about the current situation in Burundi. Yesterday, all day long, I have been speaking to some African leaders in the region, including President Kikwete of Tanzania who is acting as President of the East African Community. I have also spoken to AU Chairperson Madame Zuma, as well as President Zuma of South Africa. They are the leaders who have been constantly engaging in this. I have been expressing my serious concern that while all the opposition political parties have boycotted – and even the Vice-President and the Parliamentary speakers – they have all condemned and criticized President Nkurunziza and left their country because of their serious concern. While UNDP and the United Nations have withdrawn our electoral support there, our United Nations observation team is now observing this election process. Now it seems that the election has been continuing. I reiterated my appeal to all Burundian political leaders to consider the wider interest of the people of their country and to resolve political issues through dialogue in order to preserve peace and strengthen national reconciliation. I also emphasize the responsibility of the Government of Burundi to ensure that the elections take place in a secure environment and also to guarantee the safety and security of UN observers, so that they can perform their mandated responsibilities free from intimidation and harassment. This is mandated by the Security Council. This is what I can tell you at this time. I am very closely observing and watching and coordinating and consulting with African leaders. Thank you.”

While the answer is appreciated, it remained unclear what Clark had meant, and the UN’s stance on the elections and observing them. Inner City Press asked for a yes or no answer, was Clark wrong in saying the UN is not observing – and no clear answer was given.

We also note that while Laurent Fabius of France, the UN Security Council penholder on Burundi, was doing this as a joint press encounter with Ban, Fabius did not answer on Burundi at all. We’ll have more on this.

We note that Helen Clark hope to replace Ban, if the UNSG position slips away from the Eastern European Group. Inner City Press has alsoreported the UN’s retaliation against a staff member who dared to tweet back at Helen Clark, here. (Then again, Ban Ki-moon’s security detail ejected Inner City Press from an “open” meeting this morning, at the demand of UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous, story here, video here.)

Update: in classic UN fashion, after being caught trying to have it both ways on Burundi, Helen Clark’s tweet simply “disappeared” – but here is a cell phone photograph of it

Even when the UN purports to answer on its role, it does so quietly and selectively, while remaining too quiet about local radio stations shut down. Then Ban Ki-moon speaks in a statement, UNclear as usual: this time saying that the UN’s MENUB mission WILL observe the elections, and not even adding that observation doesn’t validate the voting. This while the African Union has said it will NOT observe on June 29, here.

On June 16, Inner City Press asked about reports of the arrest and even torture of MSD leader Leonidas Nimpagaritse. UN Deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said “we’ll check;” Inner City Press asked what the UN’s electoral mission is doing and it remains UNclear.

As lead spokesman Stephane Dujarric answered Inner City Press on June 15, Haq said that UNOCA chief Bathily is in a sense replacing Said Djinnit for the UN on Burundi, to coordinate with the African Union.Transcript:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you two things on Burundi. One is you had said that the DSG and Mr. [Said] Djinnit would be in the [AU] summit. Do you have… what was the term, what, if any, progress was made particularly on UN involvement in either replacing Mr. Djinnit or trying to address the ongoing disquiet there? And also there was a letter of five or more Burundi media that was directed to the Secretary-General on June 11th. I saw a copy was sent to Ms. [Susanna] Malcorra basically asking for the UN to get involved because they had to flee the country because their stations had been burned and closed and they have been threatened with violence by the Government. What is the response of the UN system?

But when Inner City Press asked Haq for the UN’s view of the AU sending (military?) observers to Burundi, Haq did not comment. So what of Nimpagaritse?

Ban’s UN has said little amid the closing down of independent media in Burundi, other than generalities when FUNCA and Inner City Press have asked about it. Now what will they do?

The letter is from Bob Rugurika of Radio Publique Africaine, Patrick Nduwimana of Radio Bonesha FM, Anne Niyuhire of Radio Isanganiro, Innocent Muhozi of Radi-Tele Renaissance, Alexandre Niyungeko of UBJ and the Association Burundaise de radiodiffuseires, here.

On June 12 Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: In Burundi, documents emerged, a ruling, legal opinion by the ministers of justice of the East African Community states, and they read very closely the constitution and the Arusha declaration and they say that a third term would be illegal, that he’s not eligible, that it’s clear the first term was under the Constitution. I’m wondering, one, is there any response by the Secretariat, that it’s been sort of not addressing this question? And was Mr. Djinnit aware of this ruling during the time of this facilitation? And if so, why didn’t it speak more clearly on the subject?

Spokesman Dujarric: I think that Mr. Djinnit is one of our more experienced diplomats, experienced negotiator, mediator. I’m sure he was aware of everything he needed to be aware of. I don’t have a response to that… .

Inner City Press: Is the DSG [Deputy Secretary-General] aware of this document as he goes to the African Union Summit… ?

Spokesman: I think the DSG is fully aware of the situation in Burundi and would be looking forward to his discussion with Mr. Djinnit.

We’ll see.

Two days after civil society groups in Burundi wrote to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon how his envoy Said Djinnit should be removed from the role, here, on June 10 Djinnit issued a press statement “taking note” of this position – and stepping down or back.

On June 11 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric whose decision the resignation was — Djinnit’s, he said — and if the UN is going to try to replace him as facilitator.

Dujarric said that UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson is headed to the African Union meeting in South Africa on June 14, along with Djinnit, and will be holding discussion including on Burundi there. Dujarric mentioned it is a question of which organization a facilitator should represented.

Inner City Press has received a copy of the same civil society groups’ which requested that Djinnit step down new letter to the East African Community for an emergency summit.

Inner City Press for the Free UN Coalition for Access asked Dujarric about the spokesman for the police and security ministry blaming ongoing demonstrations on journalists, at least 50 of whom have already fled the country.

Back on June 10, Inner City Press and the Free UN Coalition for Access had asked Ban’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric about the Nkurunziza government’s order banning entry into the studios of five radio and TV stations. Video here. Djinnit’s statement claims there was consensus on May 28 on re-opening these:

“commended the Burundian parties, in particular, for the set of recommendations adopted by consensus at the May 28 dialogue session, on the right to information and the reopening of private radio and television stations damaged during the May 13-14 events.”

Here is the full text of Djinnit’s statement, which Inner City Press earlier photographed and Tweeted in French and English:


The Special Envoy of the Secretary General for the Great Lakes Region, Said Djinnit, and members of the facilitation team that joined and supported the dialogue between the Burundian parties, met today in Bujumbura with members of the diplomatic corps. During this meeting, the Special Envoy briefed the participants on the dialogue who [sic] he facilitated starting from 5 May 2015, at the request of the Burundian parties who had agreed, by themselves, on the agenda as well as the list of participants.

The Special Envoy recalled that during the dialogue, the parties maintained diverging views on the candidature of President Nkurunziza for a third term. He highlighted the progress made on the four agenda items, namely: the appeasement measures and mutual commitments; the management of the electoral calendar; guarantees for the holding of free, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections; and protection of Constitutional rights and freedoms. The conclusions of the dialogue are reflected in the attached May 29 press communique.

The Special Envoy commended the Burundian parties, in particular, for the set of recommendations adopted by consensus at the May 28 dialogue session, on the right to information and the reopening of private radio and television stations damaged during the May 13-14 events. He encourages the parties to implement these recommendations without delay.

The Special Envoy takes this opportunity to thanks all the Burundian parties for their cooperation during the dialogue that he facilitated with impartiality and, on which he reported faithfully to the Emergency Summit of the East African Community which took place in Dar-es-Salaam on May 31, and the relevant UN organs. The Special Envoy expresses his deep gratitude for the support extended to him in his role as facilitator by the East African Community, the International Conference for the Great Lakes region, the African Union and the UN including the Secretary General, the Security Council and the Peace Building Commission. He also thanks the external partners of Burundi including the European Union, the United States, France, Belgium and many others who came forth to help during the dialogue process.

Mr. Said Djinnit thanks all the Burundian parties for the facilitation role they entrusted to him on May 5. He duly takes note of the position expressed a few days ago, on his role as facilitator by some Burundian parties.In his capacity as the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for the Great Lakes Region, Mr. Djinnit remains committed, in collaboration with relevant regional organizations, to continue to work toward preserving and consolidating peace, democracy and stability in Burundi in accordance with the objectives of the Peace, Security and Cooperation Framework for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region, signed in Addis Ababa on February 24, 2013.

The Special Envoy encourages the Burundian parties to continue their dialogue with a view to create conditions conducive to holding free, fair, inclusive and peaceful elections. He stresses the importance of preserving the legacy of teh Arusha Peace and Reconciliation Agreement as enshrined in the Constitution. He reiterates his appeal to all parties to exercise restraint and to refrain from any acts likely to increase tension and violence.

After the UN Security Council, the United States and the UN Peacebuilding Configuration on Burundi on May 15 issued statements urging calm in the country given the return of Pierre Nkurunziza to presumably run for a third term, on May 29 Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric about UN Peacekeeping under Herve Ladsous accepting an allegedly abusive Burundian police officer Godefroid Bizmama into his MINUSMA mission in Mali. Video here, and embedded below.

On June 9, Inner City Press asked Dujarric about civil society opposition to the electoral commission proposing presidential polls for July 15, including it seems for a possible third term. What does UN envoy Said Djinnit think of a third term? Video here.

Dujarric again refused to answer directly, while calling on Burundians to follow Djinnit. Follow him where?

Inner City Press asked about Italy suspending inclusion of Burundian forces in its training program, see below: Inner City Press has learned that Jérôme NTIBIBOGORA was rejected by vetting even in 2014.

Dujarric replied that this is up to the Italian government. But what is the UN doing, including with respect to 1000 Burundian police slated to begin “peacekeeping” in Somalia on June 11? We’ll see.

Amid calls to replace UN enovy Said Djinnit as “pro-Nkurunziza,” which Inner City Press has asked the UN about, on June 8 another letter went in, signed by Vital Nshimirimana. Inner City Press is putting itonline here (it is in French, and translated by the Free UN Coalition for Access here); it explains the demand that Djinnit be replaced.

Some note that Ban Ki-moon, now on travel in Central Asia but still quiet on human rights there too, gave in to requests to replace his Yemen mediator Jamal Benomar and ask, why not here? But those requests were from Saudi Arabia. Watch this site.

On June 8, Inner City Press asked Maman S. Sidikou, Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, about Burundian forces serving in AMISOM.

Sidikou replied that their “morale” remains high, and that one thousand are coming into Somalia from June 11 to 18. So is there no human rights due diligence for this?

The UN claims due diligence but gives no details at all. On June 8 Inner City Press asked UN Spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: On Burundi, I asked you before about Godefroid Bizimana. Now I’m going to ask about Jérôme Ntibibogora, who is a Burundian police officer who, civil society there, say was involved in an attack against a hospital and firing at protesters. He’s set for deployment in the Central African Republic after being trained by an Italian centre known as CoESPU, a Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units.

Spokesman Dujarric: As much as I have everybody’s files and names under my fingertips, I will check…

Inner City Press: I’ve actually heard from the Italian mission that they’ve put some of their training on hold, but likewise has the UN put anything on hold of deployment of police officers from Burundi?

Spokesman: I think we’ll… you know, there is a Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and people are being screened.

Inner City Press: But, Godefroid seems to…

Spokesman: Has he been appointed?

Inner City Press: That’s why I’m asking [about Jérôme]..

Early on June 8, based on more information from Inner City Press’ sources in Burundi, Inner City Press asked Italy’s Mission to the UN:

“In covering the crisis in Burundi, multiple sources there have informed Inner City Press that a Burundian police officer named Jérôme NTIBIBOGORA, implicated in the crackdown in Bujumbura, is now set to be deployed to the UN Peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, MINUSCA — but only after he is “trained” by / in Italy.

“This a Press request for your Mission to confirm or deny that Jérôme NTIBIBOGORA / NTIBIBOGORA Jérôme or any other Burundian police or military personnel involved in putting down protests to Pierre Nkurunziza’s attempted third term is scheduled or considered for training or any preparatory work in Italy prior to a deployment with UN Peacekeeping.

The UN Mission of Italy, running for a seat on the UN Security Council against Sweden and the Netherlands, answered also on the morning of June 8:

“Dear Mr. Lee, while at this stage I do not have any information on specific officers from Burundi, I can nevertheless confirm that any training activity by the COESPU (Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units) in Vicenza, Italy, with officers from that country, is currently on hold, due to the ongoing situation in Burundi. Giovanni Davoli, Spokesperson, Italian Mission to the UN”

It’s appreciated. But are there Burundian officers “in the pipeline”? Inner City Press asked: “Does “on hold” mean there are no Burundian personnel in the pipeline of your training program, to be deployed to peacekeeping missions? And, once you check in across the Atlantic, can the state the status of any of the individual named, and describe Italy’s due diligence policy more generally?”

Italian Mission spokesperson Davoli replied:

“Dear Matthew, in general, single participants, before being accepted into the courses, are screened trough the resources available to us and to our partners in COESPU, to make sure they are compatible with the values of the Center.

On this particular individual, we are checking with Italy if we have any record, which means we won’t get any more details before tomorrow. In any instances, the participation of officers from this particular country is on hold, therefore there is no Burundian in the pipeline, until further notice.

Giovanni Davoli, Spokesperson, Italian Mission to the UN”

Inner City Press renewed its questions on June 9, and got this reply:

“Dear Matthew, I can confirm that Jérôme NTIBIBOGORA has never attended nor is expected to attend courses at CoESPU. His candidature was submitted twice and rejected twice by COESPU. On the first occasion, in 2014, this officer did not pass the vetting in place for these courses (as per mail yesterday); on the second occasion, already in 2015, all Burundi candidatures were already on freeze.

Giovanni Davoli, Spokesperson, Italian Mission to the UN”


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