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Burundi rejects 5,000-strong African peacekeeping force

Iran Press TV

Sun Dec 20, 2015 9:7AM

Burundi has rejected the African Union (AU)'s plans to dispatch a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force to the African country in a bid to curb growing violence there.

Philippe Nzobonariba, the Burundian government spokesman, said on Saturday that if the AU deploys troops to the country without Bujumbura's consent, it will be considered an attack.

Nzobonariba further emphasized that Burundi is in possession of enough forces to maintain peace in the African state and will not allow foreign troops there.

On Friday, the African Union's Peace and Security Council authorized sending an African Prevention and Protection Mission to Burundi for at least six months. Protecting civilians and helping to set up conditions for holding inter-Burundian dialogue were said to be among the mission's tasks.

However, the AU's move came without a request from Burundi's government for the peacekeepers.

In another development on Saturday, Uganda's Defense Minister Crispus Kiyonga said Burundi's warring sides will meet on December 28 in Uganda in an effort to work out a solution to the crisis.

December 11 saw the country's worst violence in the recent past, with the Burundian government saying 87 people were killed then.

Burundi plunged into turmoil late April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his decision to run for a third consecutive five-year term, a move which was denounced as contrary to the country's constitution and a 2006 peace deal that ended 13 years of civil war.

The opposition boycotted the vote which came following widespread protests and a failed coup.

Nkurunziza was reelected after winning almost 69.41 percent of the 2.8 million votes cast in the July election.

Latest UN figures show that at least 400 people have been killed, while 220,000 others have fled Burundi since April 26 due to the political crisis plaguing the African state.



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