Africa

Burundi violence: US to place sanctions on officials

  • 24 November 2015
  • From the section Africa
Protesters and police clash in Burundi's capital Bujumbura. Photo: May 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption At least 240 people have been killed since April and thousands have fled the country

The United States is to put sanctions on four current and former officials in Burundi in connection with the continuing violence there.

They include the minister of public security and the deputy director of police.

The four will face an asset freeze and visa restrictions.

The US says President Pierre Nkurunziza's pursuit of a third term has "precipitated" violence which has left at least 240 dead since April.

The violence increased in recent weeks, with bodies found on the streets on a daily basis.

Those facing the US sanctions are

  • Public Security Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni
  • The deputy director of the national police, Godefroid Bizimana
  • Former intelligence chief Godefroid Niymombare
  • Former Defence Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye

The White House said it had received "multiple, credible, and ongoing reports of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, torture, and political repression by security forces, as well as violence and abuses by youth militia affiliated with the ruling party".

"Recent dangerous rhetoric by government officials has further contributed to the climate of fear and risks inciting further violence," the statement added.

"At the same time, some of those opposed to the Nkurunziza government have resorted to violence against the government."

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution strongly condemning the escalating violence.

The French-drafted resolution also paves the way for a possible deployment of blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers.

Burundi's constitutional court backed Mr Nkurunziza's third-term bid, as his first term as president did not count towards the constitutional two-term limit because he was chosen by MPs, rather than in a popular election.

Mr Nkurunziza was duly re-elected with 70% of the vote in July.

Burundi: Key facts

The country is facing its worst turmoil since the 12-year civil war ended in 2005

  • 10.4m population

  • 50 years - life expectancy for a man

  • 2nd poorest country in the world

  • 85% are Hutu, 14% Tutsi

  • 300,000 died in civil war

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