President Barack Obama notified the U.S. Congress on Friday that he plans to drop Burundi from the African Growth and Opportunity Act trade benefits program as of Jan. 1 because of violence related to a political crisis in the country.

"In particular, the continuing crackdown on opposition members, which has included assassinations, extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and torture, have worsened significantly during the election campaign that returned President (Pierre) Nkurunziza to power earlier this year," Obama said in a letter to Congress.