Burundi: President bans private radio stations from carrying rebel statements

NAIROBI, 6 March (IRIN) - Editors of Burundi's private radio stations have been ordered to stop broadcasting comments and statements by two rebel factions fighting the country's transitional government, according to media reports.
The private Radio publique africain reported that President Pierre Buyoya had on Tuesday summoned the radio editors to his office, where he issued the edict. He told them the rebel leaders concerned were Pierre Nkurunziza, who heads the largest faction of Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD), and Agathon Rwasa, the leader of the biggest faction of the Forces nationales de la liberation.

"He [Buyoya] made this decision because he thought the FDD rebels were not engaged in the peace process," Alexis Sinduhije, the director or Radio public africaine, told AFP.

**>>QUOTE IN FRENCH: "IL avait motive cette decision en estimant que les rebelles des FDD n'etaient pas engages sure la voie de la paix."

Umuco, another private radio station, reported that Buyoya realised the unpopularity of his decision, but had "recommended" that the measure be strictly observed until the rebels signed and respected the ceasefire.

"I do not understand how on the one hand he can take such a decision, while on the other hand go and negotiate with them [the rebels]," the Associated Press quoted Pancrace Cimpaye, a spokesman for Deputy President Domitien Ndayizeye, as saying.

Ndayizeye is due to take over as president in May.


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