African peace force faces hostility in Burundi

Bujumbura, Burundi (PANA) - Certain Burundian opinion leaders have spoken against the impending deployment of peacekeepers as stipulated under the cease-fire agreement signed in Arusha, Tanzania last December in a bid to end the decade-long civil war.
The Association against Genocide (AC Genocide), which has been holding debates in various parts of the country, is the latest body to reject the proposed buffer force.

AC Genocide organises well-attended debates on the 21st of each month on the 1993 genocide, which was touched off by the assassination of the democratically elected Burundian President Melchior Ndadaye by Tutsi soldiers in a coup attempt.

On Tuesday, the imminent arrival of African peacekeepers was the main focus of at a debate attended by AC Genocide members and supporter in Bujumbura.

South Africa's Deputy President Jacob Zuma announced in Bujumbura recently that the African Union force would be deployed soon.

According to Bamboneyeho, the Tutsi chairman of AC Genocide, whose minority ethnic group dominates the military government in Bujumbura, "there are a lot of things to fear from heavily-armed foreign troops with a clear mission to disarm the country's defence and security forces."

"On the other hand, recent history in a neighbouring country has shown that foreign military intervention does not settle any problem.

"We still remember the tragedy in Rwanda where there were thousands of blue helmets," Bamboneyeho added, saying that UN peacekeepers were the first to flee the country when the 1994 blood-letting started in Kigali.

According to the AC Genocide chairman, the solution is for Burundians to get organised "to preserve national sovereignty."

During Zuma's recent visit to Bujumbura, a Tutsi paramilitary organisation had staged a demonstration against the presence of a South African battalion, which has been protecting Burundian institutions.


Pan African News Agency
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