Burundi closes its land borders with neighboring Rwanda indefinitely

Nothing goes well between Gitega and Kigali… Burundi announced mid-afternoon on Thursday January 11 that it was closing all its land borders with Rwanda, according to the country’s Minister of the Interior, because of “Paul Kagame’s bad neighborliness”, who, according to him, harbors all the country’s enemies.
This decision was taken a few days after Burundian President √Čvariste Ndayishimiye accused neighboring Rwanda of harboring, financing and arming Burundian rebels of the RED-Tabara, responsible for an attack that left some 20 civilians dead in Gatumba, on the border with the DRC. Kigali “regrets” Burundi’s “unilateral” decision to close their border.
The first rumors of the closure of border crossings between Burundi and Rwanda had begun to circulate in Burundian WhatsApp groups by mid-day, with testimonials from travelers stranded at the common border.
Confirmation of this information was not long in coming. Burundi’s powerful Minister of the Interior and Public Security announced two hours later from Kayanza province, bordering Rwanda, that Burundi had decided to close its borders with its northern neighbor. He accused the Rwandan president of harboring Burundi’s enemies, and said he would only resume direct relations with him if he decided to return to “better feelings”.
“After noticing that we had a bad neighbor, Paul Kagame, we stopped all relations with him until he returned to better feelings. Because he has ulterior motives, he is the one who harbors the criminals who harm Burundians. Almost all of them come to him. Today, we have closed our borders, and anyone who tries to go there will not get through. Never! Similarly, we don’t want Rwandan nationals. Even those who were on our soil have been expelled.
Another announcement from Martin Niteretse: the expulsion of Rwandan nationals who are on our soil and whom “we don’t want”, in his own words in Kirundi, the country’s national language, without giving any further details.
The honeymoon between the two countries did not last long. Gitega only officially reopened its border with Kigali a little over a year ago, after seven years of closure, with each country accusing the other of supporting its enemies.
“It’s the logical consequence,” explains a senior Burundian official, of the Burundian president’s accusations against Rwanda at the end of last year. At the time, √Čvariste Ndayishimiye accused Kigali of harbouring, feeding and training Burundian rebels from RED-Tabara, accused of killing 20 civilians during an attack in Gatumba, a town on the DRC border near Goma.