SABC News - Burundi rejects AU peacekeeping force: Report:Sunday 20 December 2015

Burundi rejects AU peacekeeping force: Report

Sunday 20 December 2015 07:10

ANA

Official says they will not allow foreign troops in Burundi.(REUTERS)

Burundi’s government has reportedly rejected the African Union’s decision to deploy a peacekeeping force to stem the conflict in the country, which has become increasingly violent as a result of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision to secure a third term of office.

Nkurunziza’s spokesperson Gervais Abayeho told Al Jazeera on Saturday that Burundi did not need a peacekeeping force.

“We will not allow foreign troops in Burundi. We don’t need them. We have a legal and democratically elected government that should be consulted before making such decisions.

“We are a troop-contributing country to several African Union peacekeeping missions in Africa and now they want to bring peacekeepers to our country? Why don’t they just return our troops if they think we need help here?” Abayeho reportedly says.

Earlier this week, the African Union Peace and Security Council (AU PSC) authorised the deployment of a 5000-strong African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi (MAPROBU) to halt the slide towards civil war and mass atrocities.

We are a troop-contributing country to several African Union peacekeeping missions in Africa and now they want to bring peacekeepers to our country

The AU PSC says in a communiqué the MAPROBU deployment would be for an initial period of six months, but was renewable.
 



 

MAPROBU was mandated to:

  • prevent any deterioration of the security situation, monitor its evolution, and report developments on the ground;
  • contribute, within its capacity and in its areas of deployment, to the protection of civilian populations under imminent threat;
  • contribute to the creation of the necessary conditions for the successful holding of the inter-Burundian dialogue and to the preservation of the gains made through the Arusha Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in Burundi;
  • facilitate, in collaboration, as appropriate, with other international actors, the implementation of any agreement the Burundian parties would reach, including, but not limited to, the disarmament of militias and other illegal groups, the protection of political personalities and other actors whose security would be threatened; and
  • protection of AU personnel, assets, and installations.

MAPROBU’s initial strength would be to 5000 military personnel and police, including formed police units with an appropriate civilian component, would integrate the human rights observers and military experts deployed to Burundi in pursuance of the relevant decisions of council, and be placed under the authority of the special representative of the chairperson of the AU Commission.
 



 

Should the situation require it, the initial strength would be increased.
 



 

“Council requests the chairperson of the commission to immediately undertake consultations with member states, including the countries of the region in the framework of the EASF, to generate the troops and police elements needed to quickly reach the authorised strength.”
 



 

The AU PSC also urged the UN Security Council to approve immediately a logistical package to enable the rapid deployment of 5000 troops from AU member states.
 



 

It also took the unprecedented step of invoking article 4(h) of the AU’s Constitutive Act, which asserts “the right of the union to intervene in a member state pursuant to a decision of the assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity”.
 



 

In conformity with international law, it requested “the UN Security Council to adopt, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, a resolution in support of the present communiqué”. The communiqué also called for the reinforcement of on-going African-led diplomacy.
 



According to reports, at least 400 people have been killed, almost 3500 arrested, and at least 220 000 people have fled the country since April.

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