Rwanda accuses Burundi's president of inciting divisions among its citizens

Rwanda accuses Burundi's president of inciting divisions among its citizens

Calling on ‘young Rwandans to overthrow their government is troubling,’ says spokesperson

By James Tasamba

KIGALI, Rwanda (AA) - The Rwandan government accused Burundi’s president on Monday of inciting divisions among Rwandans amid tense relations.

The move followed reports Sunday indicating that while addressing youth in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, Evariste Ndayishimiye said Rwandans needed to “start putting pressure” on their leaders because “I believe that young Rwandans cannot accept being prisoners in the region.”

Ndayishimiye was reportedly addressing the young people in his capacity as the African Union Champion for Youth, Peace and Security.

In a statement, the Rwandan government deplored what it called inflammatory and un-African statements.

It accused the Burundian leader of “inciting divisions among Rwandans and jeopardizing peace and security in the Great Lakes region.”

“Rwandans have worked diligently to strengthen unity and foster the country's development. Young Rwandans have embraced this opportunity (and) are taking ownership and actively contributing to building a brighter future for themselves,” the statement by the office of the government spokesperson said.

“For anyone to try and undermine this progress by calling on young Rwandans to overthrow their government is troubling. But for a leader of a neighboring country to do so, from an African Union platform, is deeply irresponsible and a flagrant violation of the African Union Charter,” it added.

The report caused an uproar on social media among Rwandans.

But Burundi’s ambassador to the African Union Willy Nyamitwe, said the reports attributed to Ndayishimiye were inaccurate.

The accusations come amid an already tense relationship after Burundi closed its border with Rwanda early this month following accusations that its neighbor is backing Burundian rebels based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a charge Rwanda denies.

Rwanda asserted Monday that it has no interest in creating conflict with neighbors.

“We will continue to work with partners in the region and beyond to foster stability and continued development,” the statement said.

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