Ban said he would send his special adviser Jamal Benomar to the region for talks with the Burundi government, other countries and the African Union on ways to defuse a crisis that has spurred fears of a return to full-scale ethnic conflict.

In the worst clashes since a military coup was foiled in May, insurgents attacked military camps in the capital Bujumbura last Friday and nearly 90 people were killed in the ensuing violence.

UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said on Tuesday the authorities had responded to the attacks with house searches, arrests and alleged summary executions.

Burundi, whose crisis pits supporters of President Pierre Nkurunziza against those opposed to him serving a third term in office, rejected the criticism of its security forces.

The UN Security Council has considered actions that include sending a peacekeeping force to deal with Burundi's crisis, though Ban has ruled out such a step for now.

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