Seven Killed in Burundi as EU Talks End With Little Progress

The European Union and Burundi failed to make progress in talks that sought to resolve a political and humanitarian crisis spurred by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s re-election, even as seven people were killed in escalating violence in the capital, Bujumbura.

The EU said negotiations in Brussels were over obligations regarding human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law that are part of the EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States Partnership Agreement. While the EU “took note” of the Burundi government’s commitment to “accelerate certain legal proceedings,” they didn’t remedy the “shortcomings of the essential elements of the partnership,” the continental body said on its website.

“The consultations are closed and appropriate measures will be proposed to decision-making bodies of the European Union,” it said. “Measures might be taken to limit future cooperation to humanitarian actions or actions that benefit the population directly.”

Burundi, a landlocked East African nation that holds 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, descended into violence in April when Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term, which he won in July. Critics say he violated a two-term limit spelled out in a 2005 peace accord that ended a 12-year civil war. At least 277 people have been killed in the past eight months, according to the United Nations.

In the latest killings, seven people, including one policeman, died in Bujumbura in the past 24 hours, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said Wednesday on national radio. Police killed five people from a group who lobbed grenades at the law enforcers in Cibitoke district of the city, he said.

Unidentified residents cited by SOS Medias Burundi, a local journalists’ group, said their neighbors didn’t attack the police and were instead dragged out of a house and shot. Those killed were accused of responsibility for grenade attacks, SOS Medias cited one witness as saying.

A policeman was killed by unidentified people in Bwiza area of the capital on Tuesday night, Nkurikiye said, while a seventh person died earlier that day in a grenade explosion near the National Assembly.

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