Military


Parti pour la liberation du peuple hutu (PALIPEHUTU)
Forces nationales de liberation (FNL)

The Parti pour la liberation du peuple hutu (PALIPEHUTU) is the longest-established Hutu rebel group in Burundi. Its armed wing is the 'Forces nationales de liberation' (FNL). It regularly states its complete independence from 'Conseil national pour la défense de la democratie (CNDD)/Forces pour la défense de la democratie (FDD)'. Regional rivalries also exist between the two groups, with many CNDD members coming from the southern Bururi region and PALIPEHUTU originating from the central Muramvya area. PALIPEHUTU, led by Cossan Kabura, has recently claimed successes in fighting around Bujumbura.

Affiliation to the rebel groups goes beyond ethnicity and tends to be founded on family and geography. PALIPHUTU and FROLINA are long-established rebel groups opposed to "Tutsi domination". Dating from the 1970s, they derive their support from the plain area along Lake Tanganyika and the central Muramvya region.

Former rebels in Burundi were fully integrated into the national army by the middle of January 2004. But there is another Hutu rebel group, the National Liberation Forces, or FNL, that has not been part of the peace agreement and that still attacks the government army, FDD members and civilians. One civilian was killed in heavy fighting on New Year's eve in the capital, Bujumbura. Three civilians and four soldiers were also injured in the attack, which the government blamed on the FNL. The FNL also is widely believed to have been behind the December 2003 killing of the Vatican's representative in Burundi, Monsignor Michael Courtney, 50 kilometers south of Bujumbura.

Following consultations with the Regional Initiative, the United Nations, and international partners, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania held meetings with a delegation from FNL (Rwasa) in Dar es Salaam from 4 to 12 April 2005. At the conclusion of the meetings, the FNL delegation issued a statement in which it expressed the armed group's intention to negotiate with the Government of Burundi, cease hostilities, and provide a written explanation for its involvement in the Gatumba massacre of 13 August 2004.

President Mkapa, the Deputy Chairperson of the Regional Initiative, subsequently met in Dar es Salaam on 25 April with the leader of FNL, Agathon Rwasa, who reiterated the group's commitment to commence negotiations with the Transitional Government. The Burundian Presidential Spokesperson, the Special Envoy of the Netherlands for the Great Lakes region, and the UN Deputy Special Representative for Burundi attended the meetings in Dar es Salaam as observers.




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