November 15, 2015 / 8:40 AM / 4 years ago

Obama calls for end to violence in Burundi

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks, from the White House in Washington in a file photo. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama called on leaders and citizens in Burundi to end violence that has killed at least 240 people, in a video statement on Saturday.

“To Burundi’s leaders: now is the time to put aside the language of hate and division,” Obama said. “And to all Burundians: remember what you can achieve when you stand together,” he added.

In addition to the death toll, tens of thousands have fled to neighboring states during months of violence that began when Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, decided in April to run for a third term. He won a disputed election in July.

A prominent Burundi opposition politician urged the United Nations on Friday to send peacekeepers quickly to help deal with rising violence, after the Security Council discussed ways to boost its presence there.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by James Dalgleish

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