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Burundi suspends 10 civic groups

24 November 2015, 06:56

Bujumbura - Burundi's government on Monday suspended the licenses of 10 non-governmental organizations over allegations they have been involved in anti-government activities.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said the suspended groups played a role in a failed coup attempt in May against President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose decision to seek a third term sparked violent street protests in the capital, Bujumbura.

Gideon Niyungeko, whose group Focode is one of those under suspension, said he was not surprised by the decision and condemned a government he said "kills kids, young men and aged people." His group's stated goals are to promote good governance and development.

Many of Burundi's opposition leaders and rights activists have fled into exile, while some have been assassinated. Among the suspended groups is the one led by Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a prominent rights activist who is now exiled in Belgium after surviving an assassination attempt.

Also Read: Six killed in Burundi violence - police

The government has been carrying out a disarmament operation in volatile parts of Bujumbura, hoping to get weapons out of civilian hands, but many people here blame the security forces for a wave of extra-judicial killings that have raised international concern. Some of those killed, however, have been supporters of the government, including a military general who had served as a spy chief.

Gunfire and loud explosions now characterise life in Bujumbura, and many have fled their homes over safety concerns.

The UN says at least 240 people have been killed since April, but the actual death toll is likely much higher.

Although the current conflict appears political, Burundi has a history of deadly conflicts between the country's Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups.

Nkurunziza took power in 2005 near the end of a civil war in which some 300 000 people were killed between 1993 and 2006.

- AP


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