Violence erupts in Burundi

The UN Security Council has echoed calls by the Secretary General urging all parties in Burundi to refrain from acts of violence and intimidation as tempers flare over a decision that will see President Pierre Nkurunziza seeking a third term.

Demonstrations in the capital Bujumbura have been building for a number of months with opposition groups arguing that a third term would violate both the Arusha Peace Accord and the country’s constitution.

Thousands have already fled across the border to Rwanda while the UN has warned that 400 000 people could be affected as violence erupts.

While the African Union has urged patience for a Constitutional Court ruling on the legality of a third term, concerns from Security Council members about rising political tensions, Council President for April, Jordan’s Mahmoud Hmoud explains, ”They called on all parties to refrain from acts of violence and intimidation and for the need to restore calm and peace in Burundi.

Council members reiterated the importance of the freedom of expression and assembly in Burundi and expressed concern regarding the restrictions being placed on those freedoms.”

Opposition parties have expressed doubts that the Constitutional Court will be a fair arbiter on the third term’s legality. Presidential elections in Burundi are due on June 26th.