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Burundi opposition wants stay-put president sanctioned

16 September 2015, 08:09

Nairobi - Burundi's main opposition group called on Tuesday for international and "targeted" sanctions to be slapped on President Pierre Nkurunziza over his refusal to leave office.

A statement from CNARED, a coalition of opposition parties, accused the president of having plunged the central African nation into a "climate of terror" in order to secure his controversial third consecutive term in office.

"We don't want sanctions that hit the wider population, we call for sanctions that directly target Nkurunziza and the clique around him who are have the power," said Jeremie Minani, a spokesperson for CNARED - a grouping that presents itself as upholding the Arusha peace agreement that ended more than a decade of civil war in 2006.

He said such "targeted sanctions" should include asset freezes and travel bans.

"The president has two options: agree to negotiate his departure or remain stubborn. In that case, CNARED will use all legal means to force him out, including military force," he added, but denied the grouping had any links to a recent wave of violence in Burundi.

Nkurunziza won a highly controversial third term in July in polls boycotted by the opposition and denounced by the United Nations as neither free nor fair.

His re-election bid sparked an attempted coup by rebel generals and months of civil unrest led by opposition groups, who condemned it as unconstitutional.

Opposition supporters and dissidents have also been arrested, tortured, murdered or forced into exile. Police and members of the security forces have also been attacked.

Burundi's constitution only allows a president to be elected twice - for a total of 10 years in power.

But Nkurunziza argued ahead of the poll that he had only been directly elected by the people once. In power since 2005, when he was selected by parliament, he was first re-elected in 2010.

Many have raised alarm bells at the risk of renewed conflict in Burundi, which lies in the heart of central Africa's troubled Great Lakes region. At least 300 000 people were killed in a civil war there from 1993-2006.



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