BUJUMBURA DECEMBER 4, 2015, (CISA) – Regional mediation to establish a peace process between the government and opposition is needed to prevent further bloodshed, a US envoy has said.
“The most urgent thing is a regionally mediated dialogue that will deal with the crisis itself,” Thomas Perriello, the US special envoy for Africa’s Great Lakes region, said on December 3 reported AP.
Perriello said that Burundi is “facing a real possibility of civil war,” though there is still “a window, no matter how small, to get a peace process going”.
According to Perriello the international community has kept a close watch on Burundi and the extension of sanctions and the preparation of a peacekeeping force are among the options.
“We’ve learned way too painfully from the past that you don’t want to wait until after a genocide has started to be doing things to prevent it from happening,” he said.
The peace process, led by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and backed by the United States and others, has so far failed to bring the two sides to the negotiating table.
Last month, the US imposed sanctions on four current and former Burundi officials, citing reports of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture.
Burundi, which emerged from a 12-year civil war a decade ago, began spiralling into chaos in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza’s announcement that he would seek a third term sparked months of protests in the capital Bujumbura and a failed coup.
Civil society groups say more than 240 people have been killed since then. Nkurunziza won a disputed election in July.