Burundi experiencing ‘deep political crisis’ with hundreds dead since April, Security Council told
Senior United Nations officials today warned the UN Security Council that Burundi is at a critical juncture, experiencing a deep political crisis and rapidly escalating violence with serious implications for the country’s stability and ethnic harmony, as bodies are regularly dumped in the streets of the capital, Bujumbura, and thousands of people flee the bloodshed.
Noting that in Bujumbura the situation is very tense, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, told the Council that several neighbourhoods, especially those perceived to have opposed the President’s re-election for a third term in July, experience nightly exchanges of gunshots and grenade explosions.
France urges Burundi to cooperate with regional mediation efforts
France has ramped up the pressure on Burundian stakeholders with a Security Council Draft Resolution that warns the government to cooperate with regional mediation efforts and for all parties to reject violence. With tension escalating, fear of a return to an ethnically based civil war in the country, the draft warns of Council’s intention to consider additional measures including targeted sanctions whose actions and statements impede the search for a peaceful solution.
The 7553 meeting of the Security Council has been called to order. After an urgent session of this council where UN officials again warned of a Burundi on the brink, France’s Deputy Permanent Representative Alexis Lamek circulated what could be the firmest response from the UN body to date.
African military exercise ‘tremendous success’ – Zuma
President Jacob Zuma hailed a joint military exercise held in Lohatlha, Northern Cape, as a tremendous success as the continent moves towards peace and stability.
The exercise, which ran for nearly two weeks, saw thousands of soldiers from the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) partake in military exercises with others from Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia.
In a speech prepared for delivery at the close of the drills, Zuma said it was a demonstration in Africa’s investment in peace.
African Union urged to hasten troop deployment to Burundi
The African Union’s peace and security council on Saturday recommended the organisation hasten plans for sending troops to Burundi if violence in the central African nation worsens and called for investigations into rights abuses there.
The council also said the union would impose sanctions against anyone who incited further violence in Burundi.