AU Failure to Deploy Burundi Peacekeepers ‘Predictable,’ Says ISS

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The African Union’s (AU) failure to send peacekeepers troops into Burundi has been labelled “predictable” by the Institute for Security Studies (ISS).

Speaking to the African News Agency (ANA), ISS co-Founder Jakkie Cilliers said the AU set itself up for failure from the moment it suggested sending in peacekeeper troops without consent from the Burundi government.

 

‘Predictable’ failure

“It was predictable that the African Union (AU) would have to back down after Burundi called their bluff,” Cilliers told ANA. “Right from the beginning it was highly unlikely that the AU would send peacekeepers. The AU basically set themselves up,” she said.

African leaders voted against sending troops into Burundi last month after the AU threatened to deploy 5,000 peacekeepers, despite the Burundi government having already refused to accept them. President Pierre Nkurunziza said the deployment of troops would be an ‘invasion’ that would be treated accordingly as an act of war.

 

AU, international community criticised

The AU and wider international community have been accused of turning their backs on Burundi and its people by opposition groups. CNARED leader Leonard Nyangoma recently expressed his disappointment to the Central African Service, regarding the AU’s decision not to send troops into Burundi.

“We obviously feel once again let down by the international community,” he said. “Burundians continue to suffer under a regime that has seized power unconstitutionally. However, we are not surprised by the inaction of the international community,” he added.

The AU initially offered t send peacekeeper troops into Burundi as an effort to calm violence in the country. Fears have been growing that Rwanda’s 1994 genocide could be echoed in Burundi as reports of ethnic conflict circulate.

Some estimations say as many as 900 people have been killed since violence broke out last April, while almost 3,500 have been arrested and hundreds of thousands displaced.

 

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By KALOU KAKA – Kalou Kaka, GFDL