Filed Under:  U.S. & World

At Least Four Killed in Burundi Battles

Contributed by on November 24, 2015 at 12:19 pm

U.S. President Barack Obama has ordered sanctions against four individuals in Burundi over the unfolding violence in the Eastern African country, the White House said Monday.

At least 240 people have been killed and more than 200,000 have fled Burundi since violence erupted in April after President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term – a decision the opposition condemned as unconstitutional.

The four sanctioned by Obama’s executive order included two current members of Nkurunziza’s government and two former members who led a coup attempt against him in May. They are: Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, minister of public security; Godefroid Bizimana, deputy director-general of the national police; Godefroid Niyombare, the leader of a coup attempt in May; and Cyrille Ndayirukiye, the deputy leader of the coup attempt.

Property within the USA owned by the named individuals will now be blocked or frozen, and US nationals are prohibited from conducting business with them.

The White House has stated that it will “consider how to use this authority further to impose additional sanctions against those who are involved in actions or policies that exacerbate the situation in Burundi”. The European Union and African Union have also imposed sanctions on the four Burundians.

“We have received multiple, credible, and ongoing reports of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, torture, and political repression by security forces, as well as violence and abuses by youth militia affiliated with the ruling party”, said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.

No less than five individuals were killed in overnight conflicts in Burundi, police said on Sunday, and inhabitants reported a fight at the president’s office in the capital Bujumbura which has been tormented by savagery since a questioned presidential decision.

Burundi could be pulled back from the “precipice” it said if “all sides…demonstrate the strength and leadership necessary to put aside violence and engage in an internationally-mediated dialogue outside Burundi”.

Five dead in Burundi violence, police deny attack