World

Burundi civic groups reject UN mediator in crisis talks over the president's third term bid

  • Mourners march and sings songs against the president running for a third term, at the funeral of Theogene Niyondiko, who was shot dead by police during an opposition demonstration last Friday in the Musaga neighborhood, in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Civic groups in Burundi on Tuesday rejected a U.N. facilitator of talks between the government and those opposed to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. (AP Photo/Gildas Ngingo)

    Mourners march and sings songs against the president running for a third term, at the funeral of Theogene Niyondiko, who was shot dead by police during an opposition demonstration last Friday in the Musaga neighborhood, in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Civic groups in Burundi on Tuesday rejected a U.N. facilitator of talks between the government and those opposed to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. (AP Photo/Gildas Ngingo)  (The Associated Press)

  • The coffin of Theogene Niyondiko, who was shot dead by police during an opposition demonstration last Friday in the Musaga neighborhood, is carried at his funeral in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Civic groups in Burundi on Tuesday rejected a U.N. facilitator of talks between the government and those opposed to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. (AP Photo/Gildas Ngingo)

    The coffin of Theogene Niyondiko, who was shot dead by police during an opposition demonstration last Friday in the Musaga neighborhood, is carried at his funeral in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Civic groups in Burundi on Tuesday rejected a U.N. facilitator of talks between the government and those opposed to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. (AP Photo/Gildas Ngingo)  (The Associated Press)

  • The coffin of Theogene Niyondiko, who was shot dead by police during an opposition demonstration last Friday in the Musaga neighborhood, is carried at his funeral in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Civic groups in Burundi on Tuesday rejected a U.N. facilitator of talks between the government and those opposed to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. (AP Photo/Gildas Ngingo)

    The coffin of Theogene Niyondiko, who was shot dead by police during an opposition demonstration last Friday in the Musaga neighborhood, is carried at his funeral in the capital Bujumbura, Burundi Tuesday, June 9, 2015. Civic groups in Burundi on Tuesday rejected a U.N. facilitator of talks between the government and those opposed to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza. (AP Photo/Gildas Ngingo)  (The Associated Press)

Civic groups in Burundi are rejecting a U.N.-appointed official as mediator in crisis talks between the government and those opposed to a third term for President Pierre Nkurunziza, saying they doubt his neutrality.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a leading rights activist here, told The Associated Press Tuesday that several groups had written a joint letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressing opposition to the mediation role of Algerian diplomat Said Djinnit.

Mbonimpa said that in meetings they had told Djinnit — the U.N. chief's special envoy for Africa's Great Lakes region — that they felt he supported a third term for Nkurunziza.

Last week about 17 opposition groups wrote Ban saying they wanted Djinnit's removal, but a spokesman for Ban said Djinnit's efforts to end Burundi's political crisis are fully supported.