Obama Removes Burundi from African Trade Program












U.S. PRESIDENT Barack Obama plans to remove Burundi from a U.S. trade preference program because of a worsening crackdown on the political opposition in that country, after President Pierre Nkurunziza took a controversial third term in office.

In a letter to Congress Friday, President Obama said the violence against Burundi’s opposition includes “assassinations, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests and torture.”

The measure to drop Burundi from the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act – AGOA, will take effect on January 1.

AGOA allows eligible African countries to import certain products without paying any duties, helping the countries to boost exports.

Obama said the violence in Burundi “worsened significantly during the election campaign that returned President Nkurunziza to power earlier this year.”

The decision by Nkurunziza to run for a third term sparked anger from many Burundians who said he was violating the constitution and the Arusha Accord that ended the country’s 13-year civil war.

Clashes between police and protesters and fear of more unrest prompted nearly 200,000 Burundians to flee the country, with most going to Tanzania or Rwanda.

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