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AU to Send Human Rights Monitors to Burundi

The announcement came as Zuma ended a two day visit to Burundi, a country standing close to the brink following a deep political crisis sparked off by President Pierre Nkurunzizas decision to run for a third term in office last year.
27 Feb 2016 19:30
The African Union will send 100 human rights monitors and 100 military personnel to monitor the situation in Burundi, South Africa's president Jacob Zuma has said.

The announcement came as Zuma ended a two day visit to Burundi, a country standing close to the brink following a deep political crisis sparked off by President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office last year.

More than 400 people have been killed in what analysts believe is the worst political crisis since a civil war that ended in 2005.

Zuma led a Delegation, comprising of presidents of Senegal, Gabon, Mauritania and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia to meet President Pierre Nkurunziza, leaders of political parties, religious and civil society leaders in Burundi to strengthen ongoing processes to pacify Burundi.

The delegation urged all political players in Burundi to find an inclusive political solution to the current crisis in the country.

Zuma said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni will convene an inclusive dialogue that will be attended by all important stakeholders as soon as possible to continue the work that he has already started of facilitating peace talks in Burundi.

“We want to emphasize the importance for all the people of Burundi to participate in the inclusive dialogue that is being facilitated by President Museveni,” Zuma said in the statement.

“We believe strongly that the solution to Burundi political problems can be attained only through inclusive and peaceful engagement,” he added.

Burundi's government has initially boycotted talks organized by Uganda blaming some participants for masterminding the violence in Burundi.  Opponents say such preconditions made the discussions worthless.  They equally accuse government forces of killing members of the opposition.

Although details about the new mission are still not clear, the announcement falls short of the African Union's plan to send a 5,000-strong peacekeeping force to Burundi.

Zuma  however urged the international community to restore the provision of assistance to Burundi as requested by the people of Burundi so that they can continue with building their country.

Zuma is optimistic that his visit to Burundi will contribute immensely to taking the peace process.

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