Burundi opposition calls for president to step down

2015-11-13 20:59
Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

Pierre Nkurunziza. (File: AFP)

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Kigali - Peace will only return to Burundi if President Pierre Nkurunziza steps down and respects the two-term presidential limit, the country's main opposition party said Friday.

The opposition is ready to talk but only if fresh elections are held without Nkurunziza taking part, said Leonard Nyangoma the chairperson of the CNARED (National Council for the Restoration of the Arusha Accords and the Rule of Law) coalition that was set up to oppose the president's third term.

"We are ready to talk, but our position is known," he told dpa.

"Nkurunziza should not impose himself on Burundians."

Burundi has been hit by violence since April when Nkurunziza said that he would seek a third term in office despite a constitutional two-term limit.

Nkurunziza went on to defy violent protests to win a July election that was boycotted by the opposition.

Abraham Nimubona, who arrived in Rwanda on Thursday evening after fleeing the violence in Burundi, said he had seen "many dead bodies" before leaving.

Ethnic violence

"It's hard to appreciate how bad the situation is if you don't live in Burundi," he told dpa.

"Sometimes policemen let Imbonerakure (the youth wing of the ruling party) use their weapons to rob people, and then they share the spoils."

More than 240 people have fled to neighbouring countries to escape violence, and over 200 have been killed since April 25.  

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday calling for dialogue and an end to violence in Burundi, threatening sanctions and a possible enhanced UN presence in the country.

Burundi's population is made up of the majority Hutu, the minority Tutsi and the marginal Twa ethnic groups. It has experienced decades of intermittent ethnic violence since its 1962 independence from Belgium.

The current escalation has fuelled fears of a repetition of the most recent 1993-2005 civil war, which left 300 000 people dead.

The UN presence in the country has gradually decreased since its peak in 2005, when more than 5 600 UN peacekeeping troops were deployed to support implementation of a 2000 agreement to end ethnic violence.

Read more on:    un  |  pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  east africa

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