News24

HRW urges Burundi to probe killings

2011-07-26 17:20

Bujumbura - Human Rights Watch on Tuesday urged Burundi to investigate and try suspects behind a string of political assassinations since late last year.

The killings have occurred mainly in the country's Bujumbura rural province, a stronghold of the former rebel group, the National Liberation Forces (FNL), which joined the government but boycotted elections last year claiming fraud.

"Members or former members of the FNL and their relatives have been among the main targets," the rights group said.

"In retaliation, unidentified armed groups have killed local members of the ruling party, police and intelligence agents."

The latest in the string of murders came on July 15 when former rebel commander Audace Vianney Habonarugira was killed.

"The government should investigate these killings and prosecute those responsible, whatever their political affiliation," said Daniel Bekele, the rights watchdog's Africa director.

"Urgent action is needed to stop this spiral of violence."

The violence has rekindled fears of a resumption of an all-out conflict in the small central African state scarred by a civil war between 1993 and 2006 that claimed some 300 000 lives.