Terrorism, Burundi Crisis Dominates AU Summit Talks
The Burundi crisis and wider terrorism across Africa have been the dominant topics between leaders and officials at African Union (AU) talks held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
While the official theme for the high-profile meeting is human rights across African nations, the crisis in Burundi and threat of terrorism by various groups across the continent demand constant attention.
UN chief presses for peacekeeper troops in Burundi
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, addressed AU leaders on Saturday, offering his support for the union’s proposal to send peacekeeping troops into Burundi. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza labelled the proposal as an act of war and promised his country would react strongly to any ‘invasion’.
Nkurunziza didn’t attend the summit, but Foreign Minister Alain Aime Nyamitwe insisted the country had backing from other nations in opposing the deployment of peacekeepers in Burundi. AU leaders are to vote on whether the union should send 5,000 peacekeeper troops into the troubled nation, without its consent.
When asked about the support Nyamitwe claimed to have, he described it to AFP as “very strong. You will see.”
Human rights and the rise of terrorism
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was also keen to point out the link between human rights violations and the rise of terrorism in Africa.
“Extremism flourishes when rights are violated, political spaces shrink and people are marginalized and excluded,” he told AU leaders.
Somalia and Kenya have been the biggest victims of terrorism in the East of Africa, as Al-Shabaab continues to stage large-scale across both sides of the border between the two countries.
Nigeria is among the continent’s biggest victims with Boko Haram estimated to have killed 20,000 people and displaced more than 2 million since 2009. The UN secretary-general says military strength against terrorist groups must be combined with establishing consistent human rights policies to prevent further militant groups forming and gaining support in the future.