Burundian youths celebrate national holy day
Thousands of members of the Imbonerakure, Burundi’s ruling party’s youth wind, joined by President Evariste Ndayishimiye celebrated their national holiday.
In a speech delivered in the middle of a stadium pitch in Makamba, President Ndayishimiye praised the bravery of the Imbonerakure who he said had defended the country from attacks perpetrated with foreign aid.
“In 2016, our enemies attacked us with foreign aid. The UN condemned us, Europe condemned us, and other countries still support colonisation. But thanks to the bravery of the Imbonerakure (the youth league of the ruling CNDD-FDD party), no one touched us and today our country stands tall,” defended proudly President Evariste Ndayishimiye.
At a staggering 50 000 members, according to Burundi’s most prominent human rights activist, the Imbonerakure from the Kurundi language meaning “those who see far”, have been described as a militia by the UN.
Human rights groups have also repeatedly raised concerns that the youth wing has virtually become a law unto itself.
“We end by encouraging all the Imbonerakure. Those who have managed to get here and those who have not. Continue to be heroes, defend the honour of Burundians and Africans because you are the light, you are the pillars of peace and development, you are our future,” added Révérien Ndikuriyo, secretary general of the CNDD-FDD party.
The group arose in 2010 out of disarmed fighters from the ruling party.
The previous regime of slain former President Pierre Nkurunziza had strongly armed the youth league as he sought to extend his rule in 2015 despite the constitutional two-term limit.