Africans To Press Burundi To Accept Peacekeepers

President Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term led to violent protests.

President Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term led to violent protests.

President Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term led to violent protests.

The African Union will send a mission to troubled Burundi to press the government to accept a peacekeeping force after the president rejected such a move, a senior AU official said after a summit on Sunday. The AU’s Peace and Security Council announced plans in December to deploy a 5,000 strong force, saying it could invoke an article of the AU’s charter that allowed it to intervene wether or not the government agreed. President Pierre Nkurunziza, whose bid for a third term angered opponents and sparked months of violence, rejected it. “We want dialogue with the government of Burundi,” Smail Chergui, the AU’s Commissioner for Peace and Security, told reporters after the summit, saying “a high-level” delegation would seek Burundi’s approval to deploy the force. He did not give any further details but a senior western diplomat said the AU was also expected to ask the UN Security Council to pass a Chapter 7 resolution, “which could mean sanctions if the Burundians remain defiant.” Violence in the nine-month old crisis has already killed more than 400 people. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who has praised the plan for a peacekeeping force, has called for African action. “We cannot wait any longer, that is why it is a matter of urgency, that I am urging African leaders to act in one voice,” he said in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 

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Chukwunonso Azinge is a Public health parasitologist whose variety of intrests ranges from international news reportage, writing articles on current world issues and of course football. Follow me on Twitter @azingelfc and on Facebook- Nonso 'King Kenny' Azinge.

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