Burundi Rejects African Union’s Peacekeeper Offer

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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’.

 

Clear terms

“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.

 

Featured image:

Burundi soldiers” by KALOU KAKA – Kalou Kaka. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.