EU Invites Burundi for Talks as Countryside Violence Spreads

  • Bloc says invitation comes amid failure to respect EU-ACP Pact
  • Fresh violence kills six people in East African nation

The European Union invited Burundi’s government to talks in an attempt to restore peace, as violence spurred by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s re-election left six people dead across the nation over the past two days.

The EU is requesting consultations with Burundi under procedures in the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Partnership Agreement, a pact for development cooperation, it said Monday in a statement. The EU said the invite comes “in the event of failure to respect essential elements of the agreement, namely human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law.”

MAP: Burundi
MAP: Burundi

National radio reported Monday further violence in the East African country, including the killing of a police officer in an Oct. 24 armed attack on a police station and a man killed in a grenade blast at a bar, both in the capital, Bujumbura. At least two other men were killed in districts of the city, while gunmen also shot dead two civilians in northern Ngozi province, according to the broadcaster.

More than 130 people have died in violence in Burundi since April when Nkurunziza announced he was a candidate to serve a third term. Some of the slain were found with their hands tied behind their back or their bodies showed other signs of torture, according to the United Nations. Opponents say Nkurunziza’s July re-election violates a term-limit set in peace accords that ended a 12-year civil war in 2005.

The “opening of consultations” is part of the EU’s action to support the international community’s efforts “to achieve a lasting political solution through an inclusive inter-Burundian dialogue,” the EU said. Consultations, which it proposes be held in Brussels, should begin within 30 days of the invitation, it said.

Burundi holds 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, according to the African Development Bank. Kermas Group, a London-based investment company, is developing a mine at Musongati in southeastern Burundi, which ranks as one of the 10 largest known deposits of the metal.

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