Who are the Imbonerakure and is Burundi unravelling?

by Ignatius Ssuuna

Members of Burundi’s ruling party youth wing on the march. Armed, murderous, militarised, partisan, powerful, unaccountable, uneducated: this is how many in and even outside Burundi describe the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling party. It, however, dismisses such accusations as opposition propaganda. Photo: Desire Nimubona/IRIN

Many of the 21,000 Burundians who have fled to Rwanda in recent weeks accuse the Imbonerakure of waging a campaign of intimidation and violence to help President Pierre Nkurunziza win a controversial third term in 26 June elections. This, they say, is what made them leave their homes, and the country.