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Brundi on brink of another armed conflict: UN chief

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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has warned that another civil war could break out in Burundi amid a surge in violence following a disputed presidential election in the African country.

“Burundi stands on the brink of another armed conflict that could unravel years of painstaking work to consolidate and preserve peace and have potentially disastrous effects in an already fragile region,” Ban said in a letter to the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Monday.

In the letter, Ban proposed three options to address the situation in the violence-hit country, including the dispatch of a peacekeeping force, a special political mission or a support team to UN special adviser on Burundi Jamal Benomar to push for political dialogue.

The UN chief, however, recommended the council to consider the third option, stressing that there was no need for the immediate deployment of UN peacekeepers to Burundi.

Ban also urged the UNSC to “review the mandate of the United Nations presence as the situation on the ground evolves.”

The letter came after the council adopted a resolution on November 12, asking Ban to provide options for boosting the UN presence in Burundi.

Earlier in 2014, a UN political mission in Burundi was shut down at the request of the Burundian government.

The picture taken on May 25, 2015 shows an anti-government protester confronting government supporters, armed with sticks in the Kinama neighborhood of Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura. (© AFP)

Hundreds of people have been killed as tens of thousands have fled Burundi since protests began in April against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s ultimately successful quest for a third term.

Nkurunziza won the controversial election in July. His third term has widely been censured as unconstitutional by the country’s opposition.

The opposition says the move runs counter to the constitution, which only allows two successive terms, as well as the 2,000 Arusha Agreement that paved the way for ending the civil war in the country.

Burundi had already been struggling to emerge from a 12-year, ethnic-based civil war lasting from 1993 to 2005, leaving around 300,000 people killed. The country has been plagued by tension between the usually-dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority since independence in 1962.

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