, UNITED NATIONS, United States, Nov 12 – The UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution on Thursday that could pave the way for peacekeepers to be deployed to Burundi after months of violence raised fears of Rwanda-style mass killings.
The French-drafted measure strongly condemned the wave of killings, torture, arrests and other rights violations in Burundi and called for urgent talks between the government and the opposition to end the crisis.
The resolution requested that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon present options to the council within 15 days on “the future presence of the United Nations in Burundi” to help end the crisis.
UN officials are drawing up several plans including rushing UN peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Burundi, or deploying a regional force under the African Union, if the violence spirals out of control.
“The Security Council must fully embrace its role of prevention… and not let the genie of ethnic violence out of the bottle,” French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters.
Burundi descended into violence after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a controversial bid to prolong his term in office in April.
At least 240 people have been killed and more than 200,000 Burundians have fled the country.
International alarm has been mounting after repeated appeals to Nkurunziza to enter into a dialogue with the opposition fell on deaf ears.
A wave of hate speech fueling attacks has drawn comparisons with Rwanda where tensions between the same ethnic mix of Hutu and Tutsis exploded in 1994 and led to a genocide.