Burundi Internet users lament YouTube glitch

Internet users in Burundi say they have been unable to access YouTube since Friday.

Melchior Manirakiza, a businessman in the northern city of Ngozi, said him and his contacts on WhatsApp had been unable to access the video channel.

“It wasn’t possible to open it – until Sunday, There is a nationwide outcry. We don’t know what’s going on.”

Burundi’s telecoms regulator hasn’t responded on the shutdown but users say they still can’t access YouTube.

Félicité Muganwa, a university student in the capital Bujumbura, hoped the shutdown was not deliberate as she relies on the service a lot.

Burundi’s government recently enforced a shutdown on the YouTube comment section of independent news outlet Nawe, accusing it of “rumour mongering” and “abusing the culture”.

The authorities have also claimed that some YouTube channels are run from neighbouring Rwanda with the aim of tarnishing Burundi’s image.

After Google, YouTube is believed to the second-most visited website in Burundi.

This comes a few months before the presidential elections which are scheduled for May.

President Pierre Nkurunziza has assured the international community that he will not run in the elections after his controversial if successful third term bid in 2015 plunged the country into chaos.

Recently, however, there have been claims that the ruling CNDD-FDD party’s youth wing, Imbonerakule, was extorting money from businesses and workers for the elections.


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