Burundi: Regional mediation key to preventing war—US envoy

| December 14, 2015

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Burundi is on the brink of civil war and will need regional mediation to establish a peace process and avert a new conflict, a US envoy said last week.

Burundi emerged from a 12-year civil war ten years ago. Its recent conflict began in April when President Nkurunziza announced that he would seek a third term in office. Since then, there have been months of protests and a failed coup.

Thomas Perriello is the US Special Envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes Region. He says that Burundi is “facing a real possibility of civil war,” though there is still “a window … to get a peace process going. The most urgent thing is a regionally-mediated dialogue that will deal with the crisis itself.”

As many as 90 people  were killed in heavy fighting in the capital Bujumbura last week.

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Photo: A woman mourns after her son was killed during gunfire in the Nyakabiga neighbourhood of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, December 12, 2015. Credit: REUTERS/Jean Pierre Aime Harerimana