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President Obama on Monday imposed sanctions against four government officials of Burundi for threatening U.S. national security and human rights violations, marking the 12th time Obama has declared such a national emergency with respect to another country. He has rescinded three similar executive orders issued by predecessors, most recently with respect to Liberia.

The EU and African Union have already imposed sanctions against top members of President Pierre Nkurunziza's government.

His presidency "has precipitated a humanitarian, economic and security crisis, forcing more than 200,000 Burundians to become refugees in neighboring countries," said Ned Price, National Security Council spokesman. "We have received multiple, credible and ongoing reports of targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, torture and political repression by security forces, as well as violence and abuses by youth militia affiliated with the ruling party."

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