UN Delegation to Meet Burundi President in Bid to Quell Violence

  • Group to travel to central province for talks with leader
  • Overnight violence killed two people, injured 12, police say

A United Nations delegation is due to meet Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza on Friday, the latest attempt to end a political crisis sparked by his disputed third term that’s left about 440 people dead.

The UN group, led by France, the U.S. and Angola, arrived in the East African country on Thursday and will travel to the central Gitega province for talks with Nkurunziza, national radio reported. The team, which includes the U.S.’s ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, earlier met Burundian First Vice President Gaston Sindimwo in the capital, Bujumbura, the broadcaster said.

Gunshots and explosions were heard in parts of the city for the second consecutive night. Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said on national radio that two people were found dead and 12 others injured.

Unrest triggered by Nkurunziza’s April decision to seek a third term in office has forced more than 200,000 people to flee the country. Opponents say Nkurunziza’s re-election in July violates the constitution.

Last week, the UN’s rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, reported cases of alleged sexual violence by security forces in Burundi and called for an urgent investigation into claims of the existence of at least nine mass graves.

Burundi holds 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves and is a member of the East African Community, a five-nation block with a combined gross domestic product of $147.5 billion.

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