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Burundi slipping closer to edge after presidential vote: UN

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The United Nations has warned of a dire situation in Burundi, calling on all parties involved in the political crisis gripping the African country to resume talks in a bid to prevent an escalation of the conflict.

Speaking at a news briefing in the Swiss city of Geneva on Friday, Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said Burundi is “slipping closer to the edge” with increasing killings, arrests and detentions following last month’s controversial presidential election.

Shamdasani also urged Burundi’s warring sides to take concrete steps to resolve differences peacefully, adding that there should be prompt investigations to bring the perpetrators of violence in the landlocked state to account.

“We urge all sides to resume dialogue before the situation spirals completely out of control,” she said.

Since the outbreak of violence in Burundi in April, at least 96 people have lost their lives, mostly opposition supporters, while some 600 people have been arrested and at least 60 torture cases reported, the official added.

A man cycles past a barricade set up by protesters in the Nyakabiga neighborhood of the Burundian capital city of Bujumbura, July 21, 2015. (© AFP)


Burundi plunged into turmoil late April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to run for a third consecutive five-year term, a move which was denounced by the opposition as contrary to the country’s constitution and a 2006 peace deal that ended 13 years of civil war.

The opposition boycotted the vote which came following widespread protests and a failed coup.

However, Nkurunziza was reelected after winning almost 69.41 percent of the 2.8 million votes cast in the July election.

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