UN adviser warns of civil war in Burundi

United Nations special adviser says there is risk of civil war in Burundi if deadly violence is not stopped

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

At least 250 poeple killed by ongoing violence in the small African Great Lakes country

Updated Dec 11, 2015

There will be a serious risk of civil war unless the ongoing deadly violence in Burundi is not stopped, the United Nations special adviser on the prevention of genocide said on Tuesday.

Adama Dieng told reporters that he is calling on both Burundi government and the opposition to end the violence and find a political solution for restoring peace on Wednesday.

Dieng also called on Burundi’s neighbors, particularly Rwanda and Tanzania which have welcomed large groups of Burundian refugees fleeing the violence, to help on the matter of the restoring peace.

Moreover, UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Raad al-Hussein told a group of reporters that the situation in Burundi is "very dangerous."

Zeid said, "We're concerned about the rhetoric and the patterns of killing straying toward an ethnic sort of agenda, and this is something that I think the countries of the region as well as ourselves fear very greatly."

He said, "the numbers of attacks against civilians seem to be going up" which means that at least some parties have "a provocative agenda."

Burundi has been facing a cycle of violence, caused by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s victory in a disputed election following his decision to seek a third term despite a constitutional two-term limit.

Nkurunziza’s victory has been met with protests and violence in the country. Dozens have been killed since the elections, including Burundian opposition figures and supporters, as well as a former army chief and a former intelligence chief.

At least 250 people have died in total in the latest violence and more than 210,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, DR Congo and Zambia. Up to 60 percent of refugees are under the age of 18 according to the United Nations. Fear of mass violence or even genocide is rising in the central African country.

There was a civil war in Burundi from 1993 to 2005 and approximately 300,000 people died in the conflict between rebels from the country's majority Hutu population and an army dominated by the Tutsi minority.

TRTWorld and agencies