Burundi rivals talk in bid to end political violence
08 May 2015, 15:09
Bujumbura - Government and opposition rivals are meeting in
Burundi on Friday seeking a deal after days of deadly demonstrations against a
third term bid by the president, as international pressure mounts to end the
At least 18 people have been killed, including protesters and
police, and scores wounded since late April, when the ruling CNDD-FDD nominated
President Pierre Nkurunziza to stand for re-election, triggering daily
Sources said opposition were pushing for a potential delay of the
polls, after African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma warned on
Thursday the time was not right for elections.
United Nations special envoy for the Great Lakes region, Said
Djinnit, appealed late on Thursday for calm, after holding crisis talks in the
capital Bujumbura in a bid to help strike a deal.
"It is with great concern that we note a rise in violations
of human rights and acts of violence, some resulting in death including of
children, and many more injured and arrested," Djinnit said.
"I would like to appeal for the immediate cessation of all
acts of violence – wherever it comes from."
Protesters have defied repeated calls to end demonstrations, after
more than a week of running battles in which over a dozen people have been
killed, including police.
But the streets of the capital were quiet on Friday amid
Opposition parties and civil society groups say Nkurunziza's
third-term quest violates both the constitution, which limits a president to
two terms in office, and the accords that ended a 13-year civil war between
Tutsis and Hutus in 2006.
Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader from the Hutu majority who has
been in power since 2005, has come under intense international pressure to
withdraw from the June 26 election.
"Everything must be done to avoid any escalation that could
undermine peace and stability of the country," Djinnit added.
"The perpetrators and instigators of acts of violence will
have to answer personally before national and international courts."
East African leaders are to hold an emergency meeting to discuss
the crisis on May 13 in Tanzania.