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African Union warns about threat of Burundi crisis to region
The African Union (AU) has warned that the continuation of the political crisis in Burundi poses a major threat to both the country and the region.
AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma made the remarks in a statement on Thursday, calling on the conflicting sides in the country to work to resolve their differences peacefully.
Dlamini-Zuma warned that if the conflict continues, the situation will “create conditions for more instability, with devastating consequences for Burundi and the whole region.”
She also said the situation could send the country back into a civil war and called on leaders in Burundi to “demonstrate the sense of responsibility that the situation demands and to place the interests of the Burundian people above any other consideration.”
The AU official also repeated threats of “targeted sanctions” previously made by the union against some of the warring sides’ leaders.
She further voiced the AU’s support for mediation efforts by Uganda.
Burundi, which witnessed a civil war from 1993 to 2005, plunged into turmoil in April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his bid to compete for a third term in office.
The decision was denounced by the opposition, who argued that the move was contrary to the country’s constitution, which allows only two successive presidential terms.
Many demonstrations against Nkurunziza were held following his announcement to run for a third term. The situation also escalated after the presidential elections in July.
Some 200 people have lost their lives in violence in Burundi since April.