Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Burundi: UN stops talks with FNL; govt. threatens action in DRC

The UN is no longer negotiating with the Forces nationales de liberation (FNL). The talks were aimed at getting the FNL, the only rebel group still fighting the government, to join Burundi's power-sharing government.
"Negotiations with the FNL are suspended because they claimed responsibility for the attack which means they are not willing to be part of the peace process," said Isabelle Abric, spokeswoman for the U.N. Operation in Burundi (ONUB).

U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's special representative to Burundi Carolyn McAskie had said persuading the FNL to enter peace talks was critical towards efforts to integrate the army and hold elections. (source)
More worrying still ...
The Burundi army said on Tuesday it might cross into neighboring Congo to pursue rebels and militia it blames for massacring 160 Congolese Tutsi refugees at a camp in western Burundi.

The head of Burundi's army, Brigadier-General Germain Niyoyankana, said the military was prepared to move into Democratic Republic of Congo if the Kinshasa government failed to disarm the rebels and allied militia.

"We must avoid a new attack from Congo so the Burundi army does not rule out an offensive in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Everything depends on the Congolese government," Niyoyankana told reporters.

The Burundi army blames the rebel Hutu Forces for National Liberation (FNL), former Rwandan forces and Hutu militia operating in Congo, as well as sections of the Congolese army for Friday's attack. (source)
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