Burundi rejects UN police deployment amid violence

Burundi insists its security forces are in control, while recent waves of violence leave more than 500 dead.

    Burundi has been gripped by violence amid political turmoil [File: Mike Hutchings/Reuters]
    Burundi has been gripped by violence amid political turmoil [File: Mike Hutchings/Reuters]

    Burundi's government has rejected the proposed deployment of up to 228 United Nations police officers to monitor human rights abuses and try to calm more than a year of violence.

    UN to deploy police force to Burundi

    Burundi's government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba made the announcement late on Tuesday, following a UN Security Council resolution authorising the deployment of the UN force amid reports of serious abuses, including against the opposition.

    Sending a foreign force without prior consultation with authorities would be a violation of the country's sovereignty, Nzobonariba said in a statement.

    Burundi's security forces are in control, he said.

    Vital Nshimirimana, a prominent Burundian rights activist, urged the UN to proceed quickly with the deployment to save lives.

    "The UN must stop listening to President Nkurunziza's empty threats and come to Burundi to rescue the people of Burundi," Nshimirimana said.

    READ MORE: Saving Burundi refugees with a WWI German warship

    Burundi has been in turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans in April 2015 to run for a third term in office, sparking protests that were violently quelled by his security forces. Nkurunziza won re-election.

    More than 500 people have been killed in the ongoing violence and at least 270,000 people have fled the country, according to the UN.

    Burundi's government has also rejected the proposed deployment of 5,000 African Union peacekeepers. It has said it would accept no more than 50 UN police officers.

    On Saturday, more than 1,000 people participated in a government-backed demonstration in the capital, Bujumbura, to protest the UN Security Council's planned deployment.

    Human Rights Watch has documented a pattern of killings and disappearances in Burundi that are often blamed on members of the intelligence services.

    Inside Story - Can talks lead to peace in Burundi?

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Interactive: Take a tour through divided Jerusalem

    Take a tour through East and West Jerusalem to see the difference in quality of life for Israelis and Palestinians.

    Stories from the sex trade

    Stories from the sex trade

    Dutch sex workers, pimps and johns share their stories.

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    Inside the world of India's booming fertility industry

    As the stigma associated with being childless persists, some elderly women in India risk it all to become mothers.