Belgium advises nationals to leave Burundi

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

Belgium’s foreign ministry on Friday advised its citizens in Burundi to leave unless they have an essential reason for staying, following a wave of political violence in the central African nation.

“We advise Belgians who are currently in Burundi and whose presence is not essential to leave the country as soon as normal measures allow,” the ministry said in updated travel advice on its website.

A foreign ministry spokesman told AFP that around 500 Belgians were currently in Burundi.

“It is not a general evacuation order but we advise Belgians to consider their situation and leave if they do not have to be there,” the spokesman said.

The United Nations moved on Thursday to pull Burundi back from the brink of “possible genocide,” adopting a resolution that called for urgent talks and laid the groundwork for peacekeepers to be sent to stop the killings.

Burundi descended into violence after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a controversial bid to prolong his term in office in April. At least 240 people have been killed in Burundi and more than 200,000 have fled the tiny landlocked nation.

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