Burundi sliding into carnage, warns Amnesty

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The Independent Online
LONDON (Reuter) - Burundi is teetering on a knife-edge and risks slipping into the same carnage as its neighbour, Rwanda, unless there is international preventive action, the human rights group, Amnesty International, said yesterday.

An Amnesty mission just returned from Burundi painted a grim picture of a country riven by the same tribal hatreds as Rwanda and polarised to the point of territorial 'apartheid' after bouts of ethnic cleansing by armed militias.

While world attention remains riveted on Rwanda, armed factions and government forces are killing hundreds of people every month in Burundi with impunity as the justice system has virtually broken down, Amnesty said. Burundi has the same ethnic make-up as Rwanda.

Amnesty called on the international community, in particular the Organisation of African Unity, to act promptly to calm ethnic tensions by deploying teams of military and legal observers throughout the country.