Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Malawi: HIV-infected man paid to have sex with girls arrested

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Meet Omar, the 10-year-old chef who became a social media star

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Gigantic snails are a delicacy in Ivory Coast

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

La vie en gris: The story behind France's famed rooftops

Read more

REPORTERS

Video: Olympic refugee team goes for gold

Read more

FOCUS

Taiwan's nuclear dumping ground

Read more

ENCORE!

Greece: Creativity in a time of crisis

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

French growth grinds to a halt over strikes

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Norway will 'move mountains' for Nordic neighbour Finland

Read more

Africa

UN decries Burundi gang rapes, probes mass grave reports

© Stringer, AFP | A military vehicle, carrying men tied up, drives through Burundi's capital Bujumbura on December 11, 2015

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-01-15

The United Nations has documented cases of Burundi's security forces gang-raping women during searches of opposition supporters' houses and heard witness testimony of mass graves, UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said on Friday.

Violence has worsened in Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term – a move opponents say was illegal – and won a disputed election in July. At least 439 people have been killed and 200,000 have fled.

Western powers and African states fear the crisis that has so far largely followed political allegiances could spiral into a renewed ethnic conflict. Burundi's 12-year civil war, which ended in 2005, pitted an army led by the Tutsi minority against rebel groups of the Hutu majority.

"The 11 December attacks against three military camps and the large-scale human rights violations that occurred in their immediate aftermath appear to have triggered new and extremely disturbing patterns of violations," Zeid said in a statement.

"All the alarm signals, including the increasing ethnic dimension of the crisis, are flashing red," he said.

Zeid said the United Nations had documented 13 cases of sexual violence with a pattern of security forces allegedly entering the victims' houses, separating the women and raping or gang-raping them.

During the searches, police, army and Imbonerakure militia forces also arrested many young men who were later tortured, killed or taken to unknown destinations, Zeid said.

The United Nations is also analysing satellite images to investigate witness reports of at least nine mass graves in and around Bujumbura, including one in a military camp, containing more than 100 bodies in total, all of them reportedly killed on December 11, 2015.

One of the sexually abused women testified that her abuser told her she was paying the price for being a Tutsi. Another witness said Tutsis were being systematically killed, while Hutus were being spared.

"And, in the Muramvya neighbourhood, the decision to arrest people was also reportedly largely made on an ethnic basis, with most Hutus being released, according to several different witnesses," the statement said.

(REUTERS)

Date created : 2016-01-15

  • BURUNDI

    Burundi rivals hold peace talks in Uganda

    Read more

  • BURUNDI

    Burundi lawmakers reject AU peacekeeping offer despite spiralling violence

    Read more

  • BURUNDI

    African Union readies 5,000 peacekeepers for Burundi crisis

    Read more

COMMENT(S)