The United States strongly condemns the May 23 killing of the leader of the opposition party Union for Peace and Development (UPD), Zedi Feruzi, and his bodyguard. We also strongly condemn the May 22 grenade attack in a market that killed several people and wounded many more. These attacks only undermine ongoing efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution to the current crisis through dialogue. We call on all parties to immediately renounce the use of violence. We urge the Burundian government to conduct timely and credible investigations of the recent attacks to bring to justice those responsible and to take concrete steps to ensure the safety of political actors during the electoral process.
The United States supports the consultative political dialogue facilitated by the UN Special Envoy, Said Djinnit, and envoys from the African Union, the East African Community, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), and we strongly urge all stakeholders to continue to participate in good faith in this dialogue to achieve a peaceful resolution to the crisis. We welcomed the May 18 communique by the ICGLR announcing a heads of state visit to Burundi, which we believe could contribute to facilitating this dialogue. We call on the Burundian government to provide the political space needed for a peaceful and credible electoral process, including through respect for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and expression. In this regard, we urge the Burundian government to permit the immediate resumption of broadcasts by independent radio stations, end the use of the term “insurgents” to refer to peaceful protesters, and withdraw the proclamation by the Burundian National Security Council prohibiting future demonstrations. The United States continues to monitor the situation in Burundi closely and is prepared to take additional measures against those who commit, incite or promote violence or other human rights abuses and violations.