A recent deadly attack on a village in the East African country left 26 civilians dead this past weekend.
Ten women and 11 children were among the victims of the attack by unidentified armed men on the village of Ruhamagara, in Cibitoke Province, 60 kilometres northwest of the capital Bujumbura.
The motive of the killing is unknown but it is feared the bloodshed is linked to the political violence that has rocked the country ahead of the referendum.
Local residents have reported the men wore military uniforms.
“Either way, in this febrile atmosphere, it is a very dangerous development,” said United Nations (UN) Human Rights Chief, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein.
The envoy said Burundi was awash with political upheavals ahead of the referendum.
“Tensions are rising sharply in the wake of this attack, with many dreading what may happen during and after Thursday’s referendum,” al Hussein said.
Rights groups have dismissed the upcoming exercise as shambolic and lacking credibility.
a significant number of opposition politicians and others calling for a ‘No’ vote have been targeted for arbitrary arrests and detention by security forces, sometimes with the assistance of the notorious Imbonerakure youth group, which supports President Pierre Nkurunziza.
The UN rights chief urged government to provide the people with peace and security as well as for the opposition to exercise restraint.
“Everyone will suffer if Burundi explodes into violence during or after the referendum.”
– CAJ News