Burundi Rejects African Union’s Peacekeeper Offer
Burundi’s government has rejected an offer from the African Union (AU) to send peacekeepers into the troubled nation, warning they would be seen as “an invasion force”.
The representative body of 54 African nations collectively offered to send 5,000 troops to help calm the political crisis in Burundi, giving the nation’s government a four-day deadline to respond. However, Burundi publically replied the following day, insisting it would “act accordingly” to what it deemed would be an ‘invasion’.
“Burundi is clear on the matter,” deputy presidential spokesman Jean-Claude Karerwa told AFP. ” It is not ready to accept an AU force on its territory.”
“If AU troops came without the government’s approval, it would be an invasion and occupation force, and the Burundi government would reserve the right to act accordingly,” he said.
The spokesman also insists the AU is in no position to set deadlines on any offer to intervene in Burundi, claiming it needs approval from the UN to deploy peacekeeping troops.
“The Burundi government believes the AU resolution cannot be automatically applied and must first be endorsed by the UN Security Council,” he said.
AU will not tolerate another genocide
The AU’s offer to send peacekeepers to Burundi came after the body’s Peace and Security council met last week, following the death of almost 90 people in an attack by security forces in Burundi.
The AU then released a statement on Saturday, saying it will not tolerate another genocide to take place on African soil and insisting it will “take additional measures” to avoid a repeat 1994 Rwanda atrocities.
Meanwhile, the Burundi government says the AU should instead send peacekeeper troops to Rwandan refugee camps, where rebels and Rwandan security officials have been accused of recruiting Burundians to fight against the state.