KAMPALA, Uganda – Human Rights Watch says Burundi’s government forces and ruling party members have beaten and killed perceived opponents of an upcoming referendum that could enable the president to extend his rule.
The rights group reported Tuesday that it confirmed 19 cases of violence carried out to press Burundians to vote yes on the referendum, which is scheduled for May 17. It said the victims included a man who was beaten to death and another whose beating may have resulted in his death.
It said the abuse reflects the widespread impunity for authorities and their allies.
Burundi’s government didn’t immediately respond to the allegations.
Burundi has been unstable since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a disputed third term.
Hundreds of people have been killed since then.