African-led Mission to head to Burundi if violence worsens

African Union plans to send troops to Burundi if violence worsens and calls for an investigation into rights abuses

Photo by: AFP (Archive)
Photo by: AFP (Archive)

Updated Oct 18, 2015

The African Union's Peace and Security Council announced on Saturday that it plans to deploy troops to Burundi if political violence in the central African country worsens.

"[The Peace and Security Council] requests the Commission ... to expedite and finalise the contingency planning ... for the purposes of the deployment in Burundi, should the situation so require, of an African-led Mission to prevent widespread violence in the country," the Council said in a statement.

The AU also called for investigations into rights abuses and said that it would impose sanctions against anyone who incited further violence in Burundi.

"[The Peace and Security Council] decides ... to impose targeted sanctions, including a travel ban and asset freeze, against all the Burundian stakeholders whose actions and statements contribute to the perpetuation of violence ..."

Burundi suffered from an ethnically-driven civil war which ended in 2005 and has been dragged through a severe political crisis this year.

Anger over Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office sparked clashes between security forces and residents in anti-Nkurunziza strongholds in the country's capital Bujumbura which killed over 70 people and wounded more than 500.

More than 100,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries since the political violence that culminated in last week's foiled coup attempt erupted in April, according to the UN.

Nkurunziza was announced the winner of the July 21 election following months of street protests and a failed coup.

The Peace and Security Council also called for the AU’s human rights department to investigate human rights abuses in Burundi and for a meeting of all parties involved to be held in either the Ugandan or Ethiopian capitals.

It also said the AU would launch "in-depth investigation on the violations of human rights and other abuses against civilian populations in Burundi," and repeated the AU's view that Nkurunziza's election win was "non-inclusive and non-consensual."

In a separate statement, the United States Special Envoy for the Great Lakes region, Thomas Perriello, condemned "ongoing abuses that have become too common in Burundi."

"The United States remains deeply disturbed by the state of the media in Burundi and the safety of journalists," he added.

TRTWorld and agencies