When armed men stormed into Bonesha FM this morning and shut down the Burundian radio station, it was only the latest act in an ongoing radio war between pro- and anti-government forces in the country.
Raphael Nzirubusa remembers feeling torn about staying in the US or joining his family in Burundi while war escalated there in the early 1990s. A priest in the US warned against leaving and told Nzirubusa, "We’ll pray for you, but you’re going to have to stay."
Burundi is edging toward civil war, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Meanwhile, the African Union has warned that Africa should "not allow another genocide to take place on its soil."
The phenomenon has spread from the classroom to social media where users compete to lampoon Nkurunziza, mocking up images of him as a pirate, monarch or devil, or changing his name — which means "good news" in Kirundi — to Nkurumbi or "bad news."
What happens when a president makes journalists his public enemy number one and drives them out of the country? Meet the three women who, through a secret WhatsApp network and with dogged determination, risk their lives to operate in exile.