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EU Slaps Sanctions on 4 Burundians

Demonstrators celebrate what they perceive to be an attempted military coup, with army soldiers riding in an armored vehicle in Bujumbura, Burundi, May 13, 2015.

The European Union has imposed sanctions on four Burundians it says undermined efforts to peacefully resolve the country's political crisis.

The EU revealed the identities of the four on Friday. They include a former general who took part in a failed coup on May 13 and is allegedly responsible for grenade attacks and incitement to violence.

The others are high-level officials in Burundi's cabinet, police and intelligence service who allegedly planned or directed the use of violence to break up street protests.

The protests erupted April 26, after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term.

The sanctions prevent the four men from traveling to any of the EU's 28 member nations and freezes any funds or assets they have on EU territory.

The decision by Nkurunziza to run again 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.

The president was re-elected in July in an election boycotted by the opposition.

In more recent weeks, Burundi has seen a string of killings widely seen as a sign of continued unrest.

The four Burundians affected by the EU sanctions are former general Leonard Ngendakumana, Deputy Director-General of the National Police Godefroid Bizimana, Head of Cabinet of the Presidential Administration Gervais Ndirakobuca and national intelligence officer Joseph Niyonzima.

The United States has called for a political dialogue to resolve the situation.