The United States has lifted restrictions on four Burundians whom it had sanctioned in 2015 over violence in the country, the White House said on Thursday.
A statement by the U.S. Department of State noted that President Joe Biden had revoked an executive order that authorised the sanctions.
The situation in Burundi, U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement, “has been significantly altered by events of the past year, including the transfer of power following elections in 2020, [and] significantly decreased violence.”
The development, the Executive Order said is because it recognises “the progress made by President Ndayishimiye on addressing trafficking in persons, economic reforms, and combating corruption”.
In 2015, the United States sanctioned four former and then-serving officials – including visa restrictions and freezing of assets of key officials in government.
The executive order had sanctioned Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, the former public security minister and present prime minister; Godefroid Bizimana, a former police chief and now presidential adviser; Godefroid Niyombare, a former intelligence chief who attempted a coup and whose whereabouts are unknown, and Cyrille Ndayirukiye, also an attempted coup leader and now deceased.
It cited targeted killings of more than 1, 000 people, arbitrary arrest, torture and political repression by security forces that caused hundreds of thousands of people flee the country in the ensuing violence.
It came after the country descended into chaos after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third term in office, despite concerns over the legality of the move.
The US Treasury’s deputy secretary, Wally Adeyemo, in a separate statement said that the U.S. would continue to press Burundi “to improve the human rights situation in the country and hold accountable those responsible for violations and abuses”.