US threatens sanctions on Burundian agitators

US threatens to place sanctions on individuals who support violence before the elections in Burundi

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United States (US) threatened on Friday to run sanctions on people involved in the violence before the elections in Burundi.

The US Ambassador to United Nations (UN), Samantha Power said “Washington is ready to take a firm stance against those behind recent street fighting in Burundi's capital.”

"The United States is very carefully monitoring the situation and we are prepared to take targeted measures, including visa bans or sanctions, against those who plan or participate in widespread violence of the kind that we all fear," she added.

The announcement came after the official registration of Nkurunziza, the current president of Burundi, as a candidate for a third term as president.

Concerning the rising violence in the past month in Burundi, the US envoy said “the government of Burundi has a windows of opportunity to bring the violence to a halt” telling that “the international community is urging President Pierre Nkurunziza to put his people ahead of his personal desire to seek re-election,” AP has reported.

The east African nation has been hit by protests in opposition to President Pierre Nkurunziza's re-election for a third term, while Burundi's constitution stipulates that a president can only serve for two terms.

The constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because his first term was picked by lawmakers and not by elections.

Despite the demonstrations against his third term bid, Burundi's Constitutional Court approved the candidacy of President Pierre Nkurunziza last Tuesday.

Since the eruption of violence before the elections, more than 50,000 people, mostly women and children, have fled Burundi to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the UN refugee agency has said.

A special envoy was assigned by the UN to work in the region in an effort to smooth  tensions.

Next week, African leaders from the five nations of the East African Community will meet in Tanzania to discuss the situation and reduce political tensions.

TRTWorld and agencies