Burundi ruling party 'outraged' by sanction threats

President of Burundi's National Assembly, Pascal Nyabenda, also president of the ruling party CNDD-FDD, delivers a speech in Bujumbura on July 30, 2015 (AFP Photo/Landry Nshimiye) (AFP/File)

Nairobi (AFP) - Burundi's ruling party said on Wednesday it was "outraged" by recent sanction threats and lashed out at the EU and African Union which it said wanted to "destroy the country".

The CNDD-FDD party released a statement signed by its president Pascal Nyabenda accusing Belgium of "neo-colonialism" and its neighbour Rwanda of harbouring "terrorist camps" which want to attack Burundi.

The African Union (AU) said Saturday it was launching an investigation into rights abuses in Burundi and called for targeted sanctions to be imposed.

Nyabenda, who is also the president of the National Assembly, accused the AU's Peace and Security Council of trying to "deny" Burundians their sovereignty and attempting to force them into dialogue with those behind a recent failed coup.

The EU imposed sanctions this month against four Burundians charged with undermining democracy and blocking efforts to resolve the political crisis in the impoverished central African country. The CNDD-FDD then blasted the move as "provocation".

Sporadic street protests and violence have rocked Bujumbura since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched his third-term bid culminating in his controversial re-election in July.

The EU on Monday called in Burundi for "consultations" on rights violations in the country, a step that could lead to a suspension of aid.

The European Union is a major aid donor to the country which has been shaken by violence linked to President Nkurunziza's bid for a third term in office.

The UNHCR warned last week of a "rapidly worsening" situation, with nearly 200 people killed since late April. Tens of thousands of people have fled.

EU foreign affairs head Federica Mogherini said the situation in Burundi "remains very worrying."

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