US sanctions Burundi officials

2015-11-23 21:55


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Washington - The United States imposed sanctions on Monday on top government security and opposition officials in Burundi over the unrest in the African nation.

The US sanctions target Public Security Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni and Deputy Director General of the National Police Godefroid Bizimana for their crackdown on protests and intimidation of the opposition.

Also sanctioned are former intelligence chief Godefroid Niyombare and former defence minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye, who led a May coup attempt.

The White House said it would consider further sanctions against those who threaten peace and security, undermine the democratic process and violate human rights.

National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price said President Pierre Nkurunziza's seeking of a third term in office had caused a humanitarian, economic and security crisis, but also pointed to violence on the part of the opposition, including a coup attempt in May.

"Burundi is on the precipice, but there is a clear path available to Burundi's leaders to avoid further violence and reach a political solution to the crisis," Price said. "Now is the moment for all sides in Burundi to demonstrate the strength and leadership necessary to put aside violence and engage in an internationally-mediated dialogue outside Burundi."

Activists say more than 240 people have been killed in protests and attacks since April, when Nkurunziza announced his intention to seek a third term in office despite a two-term limit set by the constitution.

The president went on to win a July election boycotted by the opposition.

More than 200 000 people have fled the violence to neighbouring countries.

The opposition has warned that peace can only be restored if Nkurunziza steps down and calls fresh elections.

Read more on:    us  |  burundi  |  east africa

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