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Burundi Never Again: New York Vigil Calls For Intervention

New York's Burundian community and supporters held a candlelight vigil in front of the UN to honor the lives of those killed in Bujumbura.

Last Saturday, New York City’s Burundian community and their supporters held a candlelight vigil in front of the United Nations Headquarters to honor the lives of those killed during recent political violence on the streets of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura. According to human rights groups at least 400 people have been killed since April 26, when it was announced that Burundian president Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term. Nearly 3,500 people have been arrested in the political crisis and 220,000 people have fled the country.


Jean Claude Harabagabo left Burundi when he was 11 years old. His cousin, Nimbeshaho George, was one of 87 Burundians killed during the violence of December 11-12. “We want to bring attention to the massacres and ask to the international community to do something to protect the innocent civilian lives that the government of Burundi has not been able to protect” Harabagabo told Okayafrica during the rally.

On Saturday, Burundi's government rejected the African Union's plans to deploy a 5,000 peacekeeping force to stop escalating violence in the country. Currently in Burundi’s capital city of Bujumbura gunfire disrupts the nights and dead bodies are appearing on city streets almost every day. This has led many to warn of a potential genocide.

The African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) insisted last Thursday that "Africa will not allow another genocide to take place on its soil," announcing that Burundi has "an urgent need for action to stop the killings.” Supporters of the president Nkurunziza dismiss the charge.

"The threat of genocide justifying this deployment is only a plot of government critics," the Burundian National Security Council statement said, read out by Minister of Public Security Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni. The AU Peace and Security Council has said it would send troops even if the government refused to accept it. African Union peacekeeping forces would have an initial renewable mandate of six

months.

For eight month now Burundians in the diaspora have been trying to get the attention of the international community warning of the potential massacres like the one last week. “We can’t trust the Burundian government to do the things they need to do to protect the civilians and also to put an end on the violence and the mass killings,” said Harabagabo.

New York vigil for Burundi, December 19, 2015. Photo: Okayafrica.

David Druce, a New York public school teacher with ties to Burundi came to the vigil out of concern for the violence. “I teach in New York public school system where it’s mandatory to learn about Rwandan genocide,” Druce told Okayafrica. “The American government’s embarrassing silence then led to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. I am here to support my friends and to push the United Nations and American leaders to act on this”

The United Nations Security Council, in a statement Saturday, expressed "deep concern about the escalation of violence in Burundi," condemning both the attack on the military installations and the retaliatory rampage in Bujumbura. The council urged all sides in Burundi to support Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's mediation effort and to cooperate with the African Union's plan to deploy a peacekeeping force.

Nkurunziza's third term was opposed by many Burundians who say it violates the country's constitution two-term limit. Nkurunziza argues that his first term in office does not count because he was elected by parliament and not by the people.

Music
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Reekado Banks Recalls The Carnage of The #EndSARS Protests In Single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

The Nigerian singer pays his respects to those lost during last year's #EndSARS protests.

Nigerian singer and songwriter Reekado Banks is back with a track that is as socially important as it is a banger. It seems fitting for the singer's first solo release of the year to be a tribute to his fellow countrypeople fighting for a country that they all wish to live in. The 27-year-old Afrobeats crooner has returned with endearing track 'Ozumba Mbadiwe', honoring the one-year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests that saw the Nigerian government authorize an onslaught of attacks on Nigerian citizens for their anti-government demonstrations.

The protests took the world by storm, additionally because the Nigerian government insists that none of the police brutality happened. In an attempt to gaslight the globe, Nigerian officials have come out to hoards to deny any and all accusations of unlawfully killing peaceful protesters. Banks mentions the absurd denials in the track, singing "October 20, 2020 something happened with the government, they think say we forget," in the second verse. Reekado's reflective lyrics blend smoothly and are supported by the upbeat, effortless Afrobeat rhythm.

In another reflective shoutout to his home, 'Ozumba Mbadiwe' is named after a popular expressway on Lagos Island that leads to the infamous Lekki Toll Gate where protesters were shot at, traumatized, and murdered. Although packed with conscious references, the P.Priime produced track is a perfect amalgamation of the talents that Reekado Banks has to offer; a wispy opening verse, a hook to kill, and an ethereal aura to mark this as a song as a hit. On "Ozumba Mbadiwe," all the elements align for Reekado's signature unsinkable sound to take flight.

Check out Reekado Bank's lyric video for his single 'Ozumba Mbadiwe'

Reekado Banks - Ozumba Mbadiwe (Lyric Video) www.youtube.com

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