New York, May 25 : United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing of a Burundian politician and his bodyguard in a move that threatens to further destabilize the country amid simmering political tensions and a growing humanitarian crisis.
Zedi Feruzi, leader of the opposition Union pour la paix et le développement (UPD) Zigamibanga party in Burundi, and his bodyguard, were reportedly shot dead in the country capital of Bukumbura late on Saturday evening.
“These acts of violence constitute a stark reminder of the need for all Burundian political leaders to address the current political crisis with the highest sense of responsibility and to place peace and national reconciliation above partisan interests,” the statement declared.
It said, “The Secretary-General reiterates his calls for calm and restraint. He calls on the Burundian authorities to uphold the human rights of all Burundians, including the freedoms of assembly, association and expression, and to take concrete steps to prevent political killings and violence.”
Against that backdrop, the political tensions in Burundi have also contributed to a mounting humanitarian crisis as thousands of Burundian refugees continue to seek safety in neighbouring countries.
Some 31 people have died from the disease so far, including 2 locals and 29 refugees. The deaths have been in the port town of Kigoma on Lake Tanganyika, in the nearby villages of Kagunga and Nyarugusu, and among people being transported by ferry from Kagunga to Kigoma.
In the statement, the UN spokesperson added that the Secretary-General continued to encourage Burundian stakeholders to pursue the consultative political dialogue facilitated by his Special Envoy Said Djinnit and other regional actors and called on them to remain undeterred by “those who, through violence, seek to prevent the creation of an environment conducive to peaceful, credible and inclusive elections in Burundi.”
Photo: IRIN/Desire Nimubona./IBNS