AU: Burundi crisis poses ‘catastrophic’ risk for region

The African Union (AU) has said that there may be “catastrophic consequences” for Burundi and the region if political differences are not resolved peacefully.
This comes a day after Burundi’s former army chief of staff Jean Bikomagu was assassinated, further indicating the possibility of renewed conflict in the country which has witnessed violence since April over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term.
Nkurunziza won the July presidential elections despite deadly violence and boycott by the opposition parties.
AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Sunday called for “utmost restraint” from all sides.
“This despicable act, and multiple other acts of violence recorded in recent months, illustrates yet again the gravity of the situation in Burundi – and the real risk of seeing a further deterioration with catastrophic consequences both for the country itself, and for the whole region,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
President Nkurunziza, a 51-year-old former sports teacher, was a Hutu rebel leader during the civil war. The war pitted rebels from the majority Hutu people against an army dominated by the minority Tutsi.

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