"The African Union would like to refer, especially, to the communiqué issued by the CNDD [Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie] on 21 February 2003, as well as to the press release by Uprona [Union pour le progres national], dated 22 February, and expresses its deep concern with this evolution, which will jeopardise the progress made in the restoration of peace and harmony in Burundi," the organisation said in a communiqué on Wednesday.
The Pierre Nkurunziza faction of the CNDD-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) said on Tuesday that it would not vouch for the safety of the 35 AU military observers sent to monitor the Burundi ceasefire.
This CNDD-FDD faction suspended ceasefire implementation talks last week with the Burundi government. The rebels have complained that the government reneged on agreements by blocking their food supplies.
But the French news agency, AFP, quoted the leader of the AU monitoring unit, Lt-Col Tahar Ayari of Tunisia, as saying he had visited local military commanders in Burundi's eastern province of Ruyigi "about starting to get food supplies to the [CNDD-]FDD". The CNDD-FDD also said it had never been consulted about the deployment of the AU observers and on the AU's plan to send in peacekeepers.
All Burundi's rebel factions except the Forces nationales de liberation have agreed to a ceasefire.
In its communique, the AU said it would "do its utmost to help resolve all difficulties encountered on the ground, including providing for the combatants of the armed groups".
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