Washington, DC - The United States is gravely concerned by the political and security situation in Burundi and condemns the killing in Bujumbura yesterday of Welly Nzitonda, the son of human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa. We extend our deepest condolences to Pierre Mbonimpa, whose son-in-law was murdered in October, and who himself has been jailed and shot in recent months.
Nzitonda’s killing is the latest in a cycle of violence between government security forces, armed opposition groups, and criminal gangs. In this context, we are particularly concerned that inflammatory rhetoric deployed in recent days by some government officials and President Nkurunziza’s planned security crackdown this weekend are increasing the risk of an outbreak of mass violence in Burundi.
The United States strongly urges the government to abandon plans for security operations that could inflame the situation, and we call on Burundian leaders—both in government and opposition—to immediately and publicly renounce violence and commit to regionally-mediated dialogue with all stakeholders, as called for by the UN Security Council, the African Union, and the East African Community. The United States stands ready to support this dialogue and encourages regional leadership in addressing this crisis to secure the safety and peace of the people of Burundi.