Burundi’s ruling party has urged Belgian nationals to leave the East African country amid increasing violence, BBC reported Thursday. Belgium, the former colonial ruler of Burundi, has been accused by the party of the having connections with opposition groups as well as the ongoing violence.
Last Saturday, Belgium told its citizens to leave Burundi due to conflict in the country. "We advise Belgians who are currently in Burundi and whose presence is not essential to leave the country as soon as normal measures allow," Belgian foreign ministry had said in a statement. About 500 Belgian nationals live in Burundi.
In response, the National Council for the Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party said that Belgium’s warning to its citizens “shows that colonialist-Belgian politicians are ready to go to any length when it comes to issues regarding Burundi,” the BBC reported.
Conflict in Burundi began in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for third term, which protesters said violated the country's constitution that allows a candidate only two terms in power. Nkurunziza has denied the accusation by citing a constitutional court ruling.
Over 200,000 people, including former deputy vice-president Gervais Rufyikiri, along with members of the election commission and constitutional court, have fled the country due to the conflict. Pie Ntavyohanyuma, head of Burundi's parliament fled the country in June.