Belgium calls for action over Burundi killings

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Belgium wants urgent action over killings and massive corruption in the east African country, the country's ambassador to Burundi has said.

"In the cases that have become symbolic, like those of extra-judicial executions and major corruption affairs, like that of the murder of anti-corruption activist Ernest Manirumva, concrete results followed by sanctions are urgent, said Josef Smets.

Unknown killers stabbed Manirumva to death at his home in April 2009.

As vice-president of the Observatory for the Struggle against Corruption and Economic Embezzlement, he was investigating arms trafficking within the police.

Smets made his call during talks late Thursday with Burundian leaders at a reception marking the Belgian national holiday.

The former colonial power, Belgium is Burundi's main financial backer, but the country's endemic corruption and widespread human rights violations have made it increasingly reluctant to bankroll the country.

UN officials in Burundi say there have been around 20 extra-judicial executions since June 2010, most of the them targeting the former rebel National Liberation Forces (FNL).

Government officials have blamed the FNL for a recent wave of violence in the country.

But nobody has so far been arrested for the series of extra-judicial executions, although a committee of inquiry has been investigating them since November 2010.

Rights activists have called, so far in vain, for the head of the secret service and the deputy chief of police to submit to DNA tests as part of the investigation.

© 2011 AFP

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