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By John Massey
Burundi is a country in Sub-Saharan Africa that is both adjacent to, and smaller than Lake Victoria.
It might then come as a surprise that this tiny country could become a headache for the supranational African Union (AU). Following the announcement of incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza’s run for a third term, which is in violation of Article 96 of the Burundian Constitution, protests and violence broke out.
These responses included an attempted coup d’etat on May 13th. In addition to the spike in violence since President Nkurunziza’s third mandate went into effect, over 217,000 Burundians have fled the country. This has lead to a deteriorating human rights situation condemned by the Vatican, and was met with targeted sanctions from the United States.
The AU responded on Dec. 17th, noting that in Burundi there were instances of “arbitrary killings and targeted assassinations, arbitrary arrests and detentions, acts of torture, suspension and arbitrary closure of some civil society organizations and media”, and concluded that the appropriate response was an initial deployment of six months (renewable) of 5,000 peacekeepers, though with the option to deploy more.
Predictably, the Government of Burundi was not thrilled by the prospect of its sovereignty being brought into question during a violent constitutional crisis.
The AU peacekeeping force has thus far not received the approval of the Burundian government, who called it an “invasion and occupation force”.
This presents several problems for the AU. The first is that the Crisis in Burundi may spiral into a greater regional issue, due to asylum seekers, and spread of violence.
Either the AU convinces the Burundian Government to accept Peacekeepers, deploys them of their own accord, or do nothing. As the first seems unlikely at the moment, the AU would have to choose between two options that delegitimize the AU to varying degrees.
The second problem is the fact that Burundi is the second largest contributor to ongoing AU peacekeeping missions. With over 5,000 troops in Somalia, Burundi’s continued cooperation in the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) is put in jeopardy by both the violence on the home front, and conflict of interest with the AU.
Whatever the outcome, AU leaders will have critical decisions to make in the coming days that could decide just how important a role the IGO plays on the African Continent.
Cover Photo Credit: Dave Proffer/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)Post Views: 229
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By Staff Report
What’s News With This Story:
– In a much talked about op-ed in the New York Times, the founders of Fusion GPS defended their investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign.
-The founders of the research firm and authors of the piece, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch pushed back against what they saw as Congressional Republican efforts to “chase rabbits” instead of going after the “bear”- President Donald Trump.
–They said that in Congressional testimony, they informed members of Congress that they were concerned by the level of Russian involvement in the election.
-Here’s the point that should draw attention to those in South Florida: “We told Congress that from Manhattan to Sunny Isles Beach, Fla., and from Toronto to Panama, we found widespread evidence that Mr. Trump and his organization had worked with a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions about money laundering. Likewise, those deals don’t seem to interest Congress.”
–Sunny Isles Beach has become an area in recent years where scores of Russian families live.
–There is also the Trump International Beach Resort located in Sunny Isles Beach.
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An American college student was killed in the terror attacks that have left at least 129 dead in Paris and shocked the world.
Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23 year old junior at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) was killed at a restaurant during the attack according to the college she attended.
“I’m deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Long Beach State University student Nohemi Gonzalez. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this sad time,” (CSULB) President Jane Close Conoley said. “Our university stands with our nearly eighty foreign exchange students from France as they struggle with this tragedy. We will extend all support necessary to comfort them. We will also extend support to all students, faculty and staff who are in need.”
Gonzalez was from El Monte, Calif., and was studying design.
According to a press release from CSULB Gonzalez was in Paris attending Strate College of Design during a semester abroad program.
CSULB plans to hold a vigil for Gonzalez 4 pm PST.
Gonzalez was reportedly a “kind, thoughtful, generous and talented student, dear to all who knew her,” Michael LaForte, a lecturer in CSULB’s department of design, wrote on Facebook according to the Los Angeles Times. “We grieve for her today and give our hearts to her grieving family and boyfriend.”
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