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African leaders in crucial talks with Burundi president and opposition to unlock crisis

African leaders in crucial talks with Burundi president and opposition to unlock crisis

Burundi

The heads of state from five African countries who have been visiting Burundi to unblock a political crisis that has engulfed the country for more than 10 months met separately Friday with President Pierre Nkurunziza and representatives from the opposition, who have insisted on the need to organize a broad, inclusive dialogue to end the crisis.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who is leading the delegation that has been dispatched by the African Union (AU) said the leaders had held fruitful talks with Mr Nkurunziza but did not specify if they had been able to resolve the crisis.

“This afternoon I had an opportunity to meet his excellency president Pierre Nkurunziza, we have had a thorough discussion on a number of issues. All the meetings were very frank and we were able to discuss a number of issues.”

“The communiqué which will be released later will tabulate the specific issues that have been discussed and agreed,” Zuma added.

The visit by the African heads comes just days after a trip by UN chief Ban Ki-moon to Burundi as part of growing international efforts to bring an end to the deadly turmoil in the central African country.

Burundi’s upheaval was triggered by Nkurunziza’s controversial decision last April to run for a third term which he won in an election in July.

Over 400 people have been killed since April while more than 240,000 have left the country.

Violent attacks have become routine, raising fears of a return to the civil war fought between 1993 to 2006 in which around 300,000 people died.

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