Burundi: Over 200 Killed in Escalating Brutality in Burundi

Protesters raise their hands in front of police in a protest in Bujumbura. (file photo)

Bujumbura — BURUNDIAN security forces and youth aligned to the ruling party have allegedly killed more than 200 people in the past five months.

Human rights groups said they had documented some 29 cases of sexual and gender-based violence, 35 enforced disappearances, 144 cases of torture and 694 arbitrary arrests during the period

At least 226 people have been murdered.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Ligue ITEKA, the country's biggest rights group, has alerted the United Nations' Human Rights Council to the violations.

The organisations stated the fieldwork carried out by non-governmental organisations and independent experts were sometimes at the risk of their lives.

"Most of these violations are committed by Burundian security forces and Imbonerakure and are sponsored, encouraged and / or tolerated by the highest state authorities," the rights groups stated.

Tensions have beset the East African country since 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza secured a third term in power, in violation of the Burundi constitution.

Authorities have denied reports of human rights violations claiming normality and peace reign in the country.

However, the government has prevented independent investigations being conducted in Burundi.

Human rights groups deplored Burundi's lack of cooperation with the High Commissioner for Human Rights and its refusal to allow the team of three experts mandated by the council in 2017 to carry out its mission.

"This lack of cooperation is part of a strategy to hide the evidence of crimes committed by the regime and, ultimately, escape justice," FIDH and Ligue Iteka stated.

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