EU threatens sanctions against those involved in Burundi violence

At least 70 people have been killed, 500 wounded and more than 1,000 jailed since late April, when opposition supporters took to the streets to protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza's re-election bid (AFP Photo/CARL DE SOUZA) (AFP)

Luxembourg (AFP) - European Union foreign ministers on Thursday threatened to sanction individuals involved in Burundi's political violence.

"The EU is determined to adopt, if necessary, targeted restrictive measures against those whose actions would have led or lead to violence and repression in serious violations of human rights," they said in a statement after meeting in Luxembourg.

They called on EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to "start preparatory work" on possible sanctions against individuals in the troubled central African nation.

The ministers also condemned the "political stalemate" and decline of the security situation in Burundi, saying it had "serious consequences" for the country's inhabitants and for the whole region.

Four people were killed and some 30 wounded in grenade attacks in Burundi a week ahead of key parliamentary elections, police said Monday.

The grenade blasts, which took place overnight Sunday to Monday, were the latest in a string of attacks.

Burundi has been in crisis since late April over President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial bid to stand for a third consecutive five-year term, a move that opponents call unconstitutional and a violation of a 2006 peace deal that ended 13 years of civil war.

Last week, the Burundian human rights group Aprodeh said at least 70 people have been killed, 500 wounded and more than 1,000 jailed since the opposition protests began.

The EU in May said it was suspending its electoral observer mission to Burundi.