KIGALI Burundi's government banned three U.N. investigators from its territory on Monday, deepening a row between the east African country and the international community over recurring political violence.
The brief letter from Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe named three investigators linked to a report released last month, which identified officials suspected of ordering political opposition to be tortured or killed.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric in New York reacted with dismay when questioned about the ban.
"It's critical that Burundi, and every other country, cooperate fully with the U.N.'s human rights mechanism, and that is including working with those who represent it," he said.
Burundian opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza say his decision to seek a third term last year violated the constitution and a peace agreement that ended a civil war in 2005. The president says a court ruled that he could run again and he won an election boycotted by most opposition parties.
Last week, Burundi's government dismissed a U.N. decision to set up a commission of inquiry to identify perpetrators of killings and torture, saying the decision was based on a one-sided account of events in the African nation.
Burundi also announced plans to withdraw from the Hague-based International Criminal Court, six months after the court's prosecutor said it will investigate violence that killed hundreds of people.
In April, the court's prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said the court would investigate violence that killed at least 450 and forced hundreds of thousands to flee abroad.
(Additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; writing by Katharine Houreld, editing by Larry King)