UN envoy in Burundi deplores killing of provincial governor

24 January 2005

The murders of the governor of Bubanza province and his bodyguard were deplorable, the top United Nations envoy for Burundi said today.

As accusations and counter-accusations flew among rebels and former rebels, it was not clear who gunned down Governor Isaie Bigirimana yesterday about 25 kilometres north of Bujumbura, the Burundian capital.

Carolyn McAskie, the Special Representative of Secretary General Kofi Annan for the central African nation, said she was equally concerned about renewed threats against the refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo's Tutsi, or Banyamulenge, community in Burundi.

Any incitement to hatred, any demonization of a community living on Burundi's soil and any targeted violence against individuals or ethnic groups were not acceptable, she said.

She also urged the Government and the country's political leaders to return to secure conditions by urgently removing any obstacle to the establishment of new defence and security structures.

The UN Operation in Burundi (ONUB) said respect for the Declaration of Human Rights, international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions was a legal obligation for all Burundians.