The African Union’s Peace and Security Council on Saturday recommended the African Union (AU) organization hasten plans for sending troops to Burundi should violence worsen and called for investigations into rights abuses there. The council also said the union would impose sanctions against people who incited violence.
Burundi has experienced sporadic violence since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he was seeking a third term, a move the opposition says violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended civil war in 2005. He was sworn in on August 20 after winning an election boycotted by his opponents.
The council also said it had called for the African Union’s human rights body to investigate abuses in Burundi, and for a meeting of all parties involved to be held in either the Ugandan or Ethiopian capital. Also the Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), described as unfortunate and uncalled for, the crisis in Burundi.
Growing violence in Burundi is a danger to the entire region and the international community must act to keep the crisis from escalating, this is according to the U.N.’s Special Representative for Central Africa. Leaders fear the violence could split the country down ethnic lines and lead to another civil war. More than 140,000 refugees have fled Burundi since March, as security forces began a violent crackdown on protests.
Human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa was shot and seriously injured, though officials and a family member stated that Mbonimpa was granted approval to travel abroad for medical treatment. The activist, who heads the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), would likely go to Kenya or Belgium.