THE United States on Friday threatened to impose targeted sanctions on figures in Burundi’s government and opposition unless they re-open talks on the country’s worsening political crisis.
US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power warned that Burundi risks falling into an uncontrollable “cycle of violence” after the killing of a top general and the attempted murder of a leading human rights activist.
The two attacks over the course of the past week are seen as a sharp escalation of the violence that has engulfed Burundi in the months since President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid to win a third term in office.
Nkurunziza was declared the outright winner of a controversial poll two weeks ago, despite opposition protests and international condemnation.
“It is extremely important that the government and the opposition show up at internationally-mediated talks,” Power told the press.
“These attacks must stop,” Power she added.
“The US and other member states are looking at measures that we can take, such as travel bans, visa bans and so forth against those responsible for gross violations of human rights or murderous attacks.”
Both sides, she said, must “forge political arrangements that allow civil society and media to operate freely.”. .