‘Possible genocide’: UN Genocide Burundi

Published: November 13, 2015

‘Possible genocide’: UN Genocide Burundi, The United Nations moved Thursday to pull Burundi back from the brink of “possible genocide,” adopting a resolution that called for urgent talks and laid the groundwork for peacekeepers to be sent to stop the killings.

The UN Security Council unanimously adopted the French-drafted measure that strongly condemned the wave of killings, torture, arrests and other rights violations in the central African nation.

The resolution requested that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon present options to the council within 15 days on “the future presence of the United Nations in Burundi” to help end the crisis.

UN officials are drawing up plans including rushing UN peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Burundi, or deploying a regional force under the African Union, if the violence spirals out of control.

“We know that in the worst case what we are talking about is a possible genocide and we know that we need to do everything that we possibly can to prevent that,” said British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, whose country chairs the Security Council this month.

“The Security Council must fully embrace its role of prevention… and not let the genie of ethnic violence out of the bottle,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters.

Burundi descended into violence after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a controversial bid to prolong his term in office in April.

A wave of hate speech fueling attacks has drawn comparisons with Rwanda, where tensions between the same ethnic mix of Hutu and Tutsi exploded in 1994 and led to genocide.

At least 240 people have been killed in Burundi and more than 200,000 have fled the tiny landlocked nation.

International alarm has been mounting after repeated appeals to Nkurunziza to enter into a dialogue with the opposition fell on deaf ears.

At a council meeting on Monday, Burundi’s Foreign Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe said the “country was calm” with the exception of some pockets of the capital Bujumbura, where “small groups of criminals are active.”

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