Conflict Early Warning in Burundi

by Dr. Tim Stevens

Silencing of domestic media limits data available for robust analysis of emerging patterns of repression and violence.


In May 2015, a military coup in Burundi failed to dislodge the incumbent president, Pierre Nkurunziza. Instead, it prompted a fierce backlash against his political opponents, many of whom fled to Burundi’s central African neighbours along with thousands of fellow citizens. This has triggered one of the region’s most severe refugee crises since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. It also spurred the renewal of Nkurunziza’s ongoing attempts to silence domestic media, a process that is nearly complete. Six months after the coup, only one French newspaper continues to operate freely. Citizens have taken to social media to make visible the deteriorating security situation, but their efforts alone are insufficient to encourage political reform. The people of Burundi, a small country with a deeply troubled modern history, are struggling to make themselves heard in a crowded global media landscape.

Sovereign Data looks at the media crackdown in Burundi and assesses its effects on international transparency and policy engagement.

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Citation: “Conflict early warning in Burundi,” Sovereign Data Vol 1. No. 6 (December 2015).