The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has appealed to warring parties in Burundi conflict to calm down and work towards the resumption of the national dialogue that was suspended in mid-July.
In a statement issued yesterday, the 12-member inter-governmental organisation also expressed deep concern over the continued deterioration of the security situation and acts of violence in Burundi particularly in the capital Bujumbura which has resulted in the loss of human life and poses "a serious threat" to peace and stability in the country and the region.
The ICGLR condemned the attack on legitimate country institutions in Bujumbura and appealed to all Burundian stakeholders to exercise utmost restraint, refrain from all acts of violence and statements which are likely to further exacerbate the situation.
"The ICGLR appeals to the government of Burundi, Opposition leaders and all Burundians to work towards the resumption of political dialogue and respect to the Arusha Agreement on Peace and Reconciliation, as the only way that will enable Burundi to overcome the current serious crisis facing the country," it said.
The ICGLR reiterated its commitment to working with the AU, EAC, the UN and other concerned partners, towards the promotion of lasting peace, security and stability in Burundi.
The latest ICGLR communiqué was issued in Bujumbura, nearly a month after the regional body threatened to temporarily relocate its headquarters from the conflict torn city to the Zambia capital Lusaka.
The regional bloc, based in Burundi since 2007, was formed to boost peace, security, stability and development in Africa's Great Lakes region.
Violence broke out in Burundi in April after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for re-election, despite concerns over the legality of such a move.
An African Union fact-finding mission sent to Burundi from December 7 to 13 in its report says that during interaction with stakeholders it received reports of ongoing human rights violations and other abuses, including arbitrary killings and targeted assassinations.
The fact-finding Mission of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to Burundi was done in accordance with the promotion and protection mandate of the Commission and pursuant to Article 45 and 58 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
At least 87 people were found dead in the capital Bujumbura, on Saturday, a day after the government there said an unidentified group carried out coordinated attacks on three military installations.
UN: Stop senseless violence
The UN human rights chief on Tuesday sounded the alarm at the unfolding crisis in Burundi and urged all actors in the crisis to take every step possible to stop the growing violence and engage in a meaningful and inclusive dialogue.
"More than ever before, there is an urgent need for decisive action from the international community to stop this senseless violence. We cannot turn our backs on the people of Burundi at this turning point of their history," spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Cécile Pouilly told reporters in Geneva during a regular press briefing.
UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Emergency Director, Afshan Khan stressed that children are bearing the brunt of the violence in Burundi, as many have been killed wounded and arbitrarily detained and many more are living with the constant sound of gunshots and grenades.