BUJUMBURA — Western ambassadors in Burundi are "deeply concerned" by dozens of killings and torture cases in the central African country over the last year, according to an official letter seen by AFP.
"We... wish to express our deep concern regarding cases of extrajudicial killings and alleged torture since the 2010 election period," wrote the diplomats in a note addressed to the head of the Burundi diplomatic service.
The letter was signed by EU ambassadors of those countries represented in Burundi (Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands and Britain) and also the US, the Vatican, Switzerland and Norway.
"The United Nations has received serious and detailed information about at least 20 cases of extrajudicial killings as well as several dozen cases of torture reportedly committed by security officials between June 2010 and March 2011," the diplomats said.
"The situation is of concern particularly as several EU member states are engaged in a cooperative partnership with the police and army," they said, referring to Belgium, France and the Netherlands.
The ambassadors said they hoped the government and judicial bodies would do everything in their power to put an end to the "intolerable practice" and prosecute those suspected of committing the crimes.
The letter was sent earlier this week to the foreign ministry.
It was hoped last year's election would help Burundi turn the page after a bloody civil war between 1993 and 2006, but continuing political unrest has seen regular reprisal killings of ruling party members and opposition party activists.
Two ruling party militants were killed by armed men overnight Monday to Tuesday in Bujumbura Rural province, one of the worst-affected areas.
The government rejected calls for talks by the opposition coalition, the Democratic Alliance for Change (ADC).
"There will be no talks until such time as someone comes forward and says, 'I am behind the acts of banditry that we are seeing here there and everywhere'," government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba said Tuesday.
Copyright © 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More »