The U.S. government on Monday condemned the recent killings of an opposition party leader in Burundi and at least 20 others, urging all the parties to renounce violence and continue to work toward a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Marie Harf, deputy spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, urged the Burundian government to investigate the recent attacks, and to take concrete steps to ensure the safety of political leaders during the electoral process. "We call on all parties to immediately renounce the use of violence," Harf said in a statement.
By Mathieu Bonkoungou OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Authorities in Burkina Faso began exhuming the remains of former president Thomas Sankara on Monday in a bid to establish responsibility for a murder that has dogged the West African country since 1987. Sankara's relatives have for years pressed for the remains to be tested, saying they suspect it may not be that of the former president, who died in a coup that brought his former ally Blaise Compaore to power. Witnesses at the Daghnoen cemetery on the outskirts of the capital Ouagadougou said the exhumation of Sankara's body and those of 12 colleagues had begun with the families of the victims and lawyers present.
By Clement Manirabarusha and Goran Tomasevic BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi's opposition boycotted peace talks with the government on Monday in protest at the killing of an opposition leader, despite U.N.-led calls for dialogue to end a month of protests and violence in the east African country. Rights groups say at least 20 people have died since protests broke out on April 26, a day after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third five-year term. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and others have condemned the killing by unidentified gunmen on Saturday of Zedi Feruzi, whose small UPD party is part of a wider opposition that says the president is breaking the two-term limit set down in the constitution.