EU to evacute families, staff members from Burundi

European Union says they are temporarily reducing some staff and evacuating families from Brundi as violence surges in country

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Tension rises in Burundi as a wave of killings, tortures and arrests were seen in recent months

The European Union is to evacuate the families of staff members as well as some non-essential employees from Burundi after a wave of political violence in the central African nation, officials said Friday.

"We have decided to evacuate temporarily the families and part of the non-essential staff but the (EU) delegation will continue functioning normally," an EU official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

"The decision has been taken on the basis of a new risk assessment of the situation in Burundi."

Burundi descended into violence after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a controversial bid to prolong his term in office in April. At least 240 people have been killed in Burundi and more than 200,000 have fled the tiny landlocked nation.

"We have reduced the number of staff to an essential level as the situation is clearly dangerous in Burundi, and so we are taking steps for our personnel and their families," another official said.

The evacuees will leave the country "in the days to come," the official added.

Belgian foreign ministry on Friday advised its citizens in Burundi to leave unless they have an essential reason for staying.