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A chronology of key events in the history of Burundi, from the 1300s to the present

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'Come home', Burundi’s president tells refugees

Aboubakar Famau

BBC Africa, Arusha

Thousands of Burundian refugees living in Tanzania have been urged to go back home and improve life there.

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza made the call today on a visit to Tanzania, his first foreign trip since surviving a failed coup attempt in 2015.

Addressing a public rally in the north-western Kagera region, alongside his Tanzanian counterpart President John Magafuli, Mr Nkrunziza said:

Today, Burundi is a peaceful country. We invite our citizens, our brothers and sisters who fled here in Tanzania to return... and start rebuilding their country."

Nearly 240,000 Burundians have fled into Tanzania since April 2015, when tensions flared up after it was announced that President Nkurunziza would run for a controversial third term.

He survived an attempted coup the following month.

Burundian refugees gather along the shoreline of the Tanganyika lake in the fishing village of Kagunga, in May 2015. At the time, UNHCR was transporting approximately 2,000 refugees per day to a transit camp at the stadium in Kigoma.
AFP
Tanzania is home to thousands of Burundian refugees

Burundi 'purging army along ethnic lines'

Burundi army
AFP

Burundian authorities have intensified an ethnically-driven purge of the army this year, a French rights group has said in a report out today.

The government in Bujumbura rejected the findings, Reuters news agency reports.

The report by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) said there was already a split in the army between people who supported an attempted coup in 2015 and those who backed President Pierre Nkurunziza.

It said the split has become worse, with the "purge and elimination" of soldiers The "primary targets" were soldiers who came from the former army, dominated by the minority Tutsi ethnic group.

It goes on to say that the government has "reinstated" ethnic divisions in the army, and considers soldiers of the former army as "enemies because of their Tutsi ethnic background".

The report gives a stark warning about what could happen if the trend continues:

This might lead the army to fall apart and entice many soldiers to disobey, which means a possible return of civil war."

Mr Nkurunziza comes from the majority Hutu etnic group. He took power in 2005 following the the end of a brutal civil war.

He refused to step down in 2015 when his two terms ended. It led to protests and an attempted coup which was crushed by troops loyal to him.