Burundi’s government will not take part in peace talks with the opposition scheduled for Wednesday, a senior official said, casting doubts on efforts to end months of violence.
“No dialogue tomorrow neither on January 16 as many may think, because there has been no consensus on that date,” Joseph Bangurambona, the permanent secretary in Burundi’s foreign affairs ministry, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday.
The talks in neighbouring Tanzania were announced last month as part of regional efforts to resolve a crisis triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term in office – a move opponents described as violating the constitution.
On Monday, explosions hit the capital Bujumbura, injuring at least two people, police and civil society representatives said.
Two devices were thrown by people riding on motorcycles, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said.
The African Union (AU) has said that there may be “catastrophic consequences” for Burundi and the region if political differences are not resolved peacefully.
This comes a day after Burundi’s former army chief of staff Jean Bikomagu was assassinated, further indicating the possibility of renewed conflict in the country which has witnessed violence since April over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term.One of them hit the compound of a Catholic convent, causing a woman who had taken shelter there to lose a leg.
Nkurunziza won the July presidential elections despite deadly violence and boycott by the opposition parties and civil society groups.
AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Sunday called for “utmost restraint” from all sides.
“This despicable act, and multiple other acts of violence recorded in recent months, illustrates yet again the gravity of the situation in Burundi – and the real risk of seeing a further deterioration with catastrophic consequences both for the country itself, and for the whole region,” said Dlamini-Zuma.