UN condemns Burundi massacre

The council held an emergency meeting on Sunday to discuss Burundi’s situation, after news of Friday’s massacre came to light.

Hutu extremists have been blamed for the killings of mainly women and children refugees from the DRC at the Gatumba camp.

The UN has asked Burundi to set up a refugee camp away from the DRC border where the killings took place.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he is “shocked and outraged” by the incident.

A statement said the council “condemns with the utmost firmness the massacre of refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which occurred on the territory of Burundi in Gatumba”.

The rebel Burundian Hutu National Liberation Forces has claimed responsibility for the slaughter, but Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye said his country has been attacked by Congolese who had crossed the border.

“Our frontier has been violated by elements coming from the DRC to massacre Congolese civilians who had sought asylum,” he said.

The attackers entered the camp on Friday evening armed with machetes, guns and grenades, and set fire to several shelters.

Some 20,000 Tutsis from the DRC have sought refugee in Burundi since May as a result of clashes between Hutu fighters and Congo military forces.

Burundian officials are warning that the Hutus are now planning attacks on other refugee camps.

“The Security Council requests the special representative of the Secretary General for Burundi, in close contact with the Special Representative of the Secretary General for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to establish the facts and report on them to the council as quickly as possible,” the United Nations statement said.

“The council calls upon the authorities of Burundi and of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to cooperate actively so that the perpetrators and those responsible for these crimes be brought to justice without delay.

“The council calls upon all states in the region to ensure that the territorial integrity of their neighbours is respected.

“It encourages them to redouble their efforts in order to provide security for the civilian population on their territories including for the foreigners to whom they grant refuge,” it said.

The European Union is urgning the rebels to enter into peace talks.

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