Grenade attacks against Burundian lawmakers alarm Secretary-General

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

11 March 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern at the simultaneous grenade attacks at the weekend in Bujumbura, the Burundian capital, on the homes of four parliamentarians.

Mr. Ban “calls on national authorities to continue to give this serious incident the attention it deserves and to bring the perpetrators to justice without delay,” his spokesperson said in a statement released today.

“The Secretary-General urges the Government of Burundi and all political leaders to work together through the national democratic institutions to ease the current tensions,” the statement added. “He will continue to monitor the situation in Burundi very closely.”

The grenades were launched against the homes of Alice Nzomukunda, the former vice-president of the National Assembly, and the lawmakers Mathias Barabose, Zaituni Radjabu and Pasteur Mpawenayo.

The three lawmakers are among a group of 46 parliamentarians who have written to Mr. Ban and the United Nations Integrated Office in Burundi (BINUB) asking for protection after death threats were made against them.

BINUB has been in place in the Great Lakes country since the start of last year to help implement the previous year’s comprehensive ceasefire agreement between the Government and the rebel group known as Palipehutu-FNL.

In a press statement yesterday, BINUB also condemned the grenade attack, and noted with concern that it was similar to recent attacks against parliamentarians involved in the current tensions within the National Assembly.

They urged the Government, the lawmakers and the leaders of Burundi’s political parties to pursue dialogue to resolve their differences.


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