Source AP ©

Vice president resigns in Burundi

Political tensions are escalating in Burundi after an awful civil war – with vice president of the country resigning Thursday.

Martin Nduwimana told reporters late on Wednesday, "We have tendered our resignation to His Excellency the president of the Republic (Pierre Nkurunziza), and he has accepted."

The resignation comes at a delicate time for the government, which is struggling to move forward stalled peace talks with the country's last rebel group and faces opposition calls to replace its entire cabinet over its failure to stop human rights abuses and corruption.

The ruling party has also split in two after jailing its powerful chairman for trying to destabilize the country, and one half of it has allied itself to opposition parties boycotting parliament. The boycott means no new laws can be passed. Nduwimana was formerly a member of an opposition party but was dumped in August for working with the government.

Last September, President Nkurunziza struck a deal with opposition parties and assured the nation that a solution to the political crisis had been found, but the country continues to be troubled by sporadic violence. Nduwimana said he hoped his resignation would help break the impasse.

Burundi is trying to emerge from a 13 year civil war which killed over 250,000 people and shattered its fledging economy. The conflict started in October 1993, when paratroopers from the Tutsi ethnic minority - which had long dominated politics and the military - assassinated the country's first democratically elected president, a member of the Hutu majority. Nkurunziza, a former Hutu rebel, was elected in peaceful polls held in 2005.

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