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Newsline: EU Mission in Burundi Reduces Staff but Stays Open

The European Union mission in Burundi is temporarily making a small reduction in staff and pulling out foreign family members due to the rising risk of violence, the EU envoy said on Friday. The UN Security Council on Thursday asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report within 15 days on options for boosting the United Nations presence in Burundi because of concerns that violence could spiral into an ethnic conflict. “The delegation will continue functioning normally,” EU Ambassador Patrick Spirlet told Reuters, citing the “rising risk of violence” for reducing some staff and sending family members away. He did not say how long the mission was expected to operate with reduced staff. The US Embassy sent non-essential staff and staff family members away in May, but on November 3 said they were returning. The United States still warns its citizens against non-essential travel to Burundi. Burundi, which emerged from an ethnically charged civil war in 2005, has been mired in a political crisis that has sparked a failed coup, assassinations and other violence since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term. Burundi’s 12-year civil war that left 300,000 dead pitted rebel groups of the Hutu majority against the army which was at the time led by minority Tutsis.



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