Burundi: Possible Mass Graves Spotted As Opposition Calls for AU Intervention

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Amnesty International says it has found evidence of mass graves in Burundi at five locations where security forces have been accused of killing 87 people in December.

The satellite images that appear to show the mass graves emerge as a leading opposition group in Burundi urged the African Union (AU) to send peacekeeper troops into the country to help bring an end to violence.

 

Five possible mass graves found

Amnesty International has cross-referenced images and video footage with witness accounts to locate five potential mass graves in close proximity to where security forces killed scores of opposition members on December 11.

It was Burundi’s bloodiest day since violence broke out in April last year, following attacks on several army bases in the country. The retaliation claimed 87 lives, whose bodies were retrieved by police and local officials, before being taken to undisclosed locations.

Burundi’s government has denied the allegations, claiming they have been fabricated to make the country appear dangerous.

 

Opposition calls for AU intervention

As reports of mass graves emerge, opposition members in Burundi have called upon the African Union to intervene and send peacekeeper troops into the country. The AU had previously proposed sending 5,000 peacekeeper troops into Burundi, in an effort to bring peace to the streets of Bujumbura and other areas.

President Nkurunziza condemned the proposal, insisting the deployment of any peacekeeper troops would be an invasion and promised to retaliate against any such acts of war.

However, Burundi’s main opposition group leader, Leonard Nyangoma, says the general public could also be drawn into the conflict without intervention.

“The risk is that hesitancy on the part of the international community to support the Burundi people could lead to the resurgence of armed groups,” the CNARED leader said in a press statement.

 

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By KALOU KAKA – Kalou Kaka, GFDL, $3