UN chief slams attacks on Burundi military bases
Iran Press TV
Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:5AM
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has strongly condemned recent attacks on military bases that left at least a dozen people dead in Burundi following a disputed presidential election.
Burundi's army said at least 12 gunmen were killed and another 21 arrested following a series of coordinated assaults on Friday that targeted the Ngagara base and a military training college, both in the capital Bujumbura, as well as a base in Mujejuru, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.
Some witnesses put the death toll at more than 35 people. Police said at least 20 dead bodies were seen on the streets of Bujumbura on Saturday. No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks so far.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Saturday, Ban urged "the leadership of these groups and the national authorities to refrain from any further escalation of violence or retaliation and stresses that anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held individually accountable."
The UN chief also said the world body "extends its full support and assistance to all efforts aimed at promoting a peaceful settlement of the crisis."
Earlier in the day, the UN Security Council "condemned in the strongest terms the recent attacks by unidentified assailants," calling on "all involved actors to refrain from violence."
The 15-nation body also expressed readiness "to consider additional measures" against power brokers in the country and appealed for immediate talks to prevent more violence.
The latest attacks are the first on military targets since unrest broke out in April over President Pierre Nkurunziza's third-term bid.
Nkurunziza won the controversial election in July. His third term has widely been censured as unconstitutional by the country's opposition.
The opposition says the move runs counter to the constitution, which only allows two successive terms, as well as the 2,000 Arusha Agreement that paved the way for ending the civil war in the country.
At least 240 people have been killed in Burundi and tens of thousands have fled to neighboring states in the violence.
Burundi had already been struggling to emerge from a 12-year, ethnic-based civil war lasting from 1993 to 2005, leaving around 300,000 people killed. The country has been plagued by tension between the usually-dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority since independence in 1962.
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