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Burundi creates reconciliation body that divides public opinion

By Patrick Nduwimana BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi, locked in its worst political crisis since its civil war ended in 2005, has created a reconciliation commission that opposition parties say will shield the ruling party from accountability for past crimes. The ruling CNDD-FDD party voted late on Thursday to launch the commission and let President Pierre Nkurunziza pick its members, who are to establish the truth about conflicts wracking Burundi since independence from Belgium in 1962.

UN protests Burundi move to expel envoy

The United Nations expressed "regret" over Burundi's decision Thursday to throw a senior UN official out of the country following a damning report alleging guns were being distributed ahead of elections. The leaked internal UN report has raised fears of a return to civil war and the government has been warned about the risk, said Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. "Repeatedly over the last two weeks we have brought up the issue of the arming of youth groups to the government of Burundi," said Dujarric.

Burundi government denies arming supporters

Burundi's government on Friday fiercely denied accusations that it was arming young supporters of the ruling party, amid renewed concerns over political violence in a nation still healing from decades of conflict. Local media have been quoting from an alleged internal United Nations report that reportedly sounded the alarm over "allegations" that members of the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza's party, were being armed and trained in weapons use.

U.S. urges Burundi to drop constitution changes, avoid 'dark days'

By Patrick Nduwimana BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - The United States urged Burundi's president on Tuesday to drop planned constitutional changes that could upset a delicate ethnic power balance, warning that the country risked a return to the "dark days" of civil war. Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations met President Pierre Nkurunziza - who might be allowed to run for a third term under a new constitution - and told him he should leave the current system in place.

Burundi parliament rejects disputed draft constitution

Burundi's parliament failed Friday to adopt the government's highly controversial measures to revise the constitution, which could have threatened a delicate ethnic balance in a nation still healing from decades of conflict. Lawmakers blocked the changes by a single vote, parliamentary speaker Pie Ntavyohanyuma said, adding that the "draft revision of the constitution is therefore rejected".

Burundi protesters given life for 'armed revolt'

Burundi sentenced 21 activists from a key opposition party to life in jail for "armed revolt" on Friday after a jogging protest earlier this month turned into violent clashes with police, a rights campaigner said. A further 26 were given terms of between two and 10 years for their role in protests in the capital Bujumbura on March 8, which snowballed into the worst violence since the end of the civil war 12 years ago.

Burundi parliament rejects disputed draft constitution

Burundi's parliament failed Friday to adopt the government's highly controversial measures to revise the constitution, which could have threatened a delicate ethnic balance in a nation still healing from decades of conflict. Lawmakers blocked the changes by a single vote, parliamentary speaker Pie Ntavyohanyuma said, adding that the "draft revision of the constitution is therefore rejected."

Burundi opposition chief hit by scandal bailed

A Burundi court bailed Thursday a key opposition leader arrested in a sex and bribery scandal his supporters claim was a setup designed to block a challenge to the president. Frederic Bamvuginyumvira, a former Burundi vice-president and current deputy leader of the Front for Democracy (Frodebu) party was arrested in December "while having sex... in a house of ill repute", a court official said. A bail order was initially made in December, but was then rejected at the request of the prosecution.

Burundi opposition chief charged with rebellion

Burundi charged the leader of a key opposition party and 71 supporters with rebellion Wednesday after violent clashes last week, a prosecutor said, amid worsening tensions in the small central African nation. Party leader Alexis Sinduhije, who is on the run from police, and the other activists face life in jail if found guilty.

Burundi opposition chief charged with rebellion

Burundi charged the leader of a key opposition party and 71 supporters with rebellion Wednesday after violent clashes last week, a prosecutor said, amid worsening tensions in the small central African nation. Party leader Alexis Sinduhije, who is on the run from police, and the other activists face life in jail if found guilty.
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