Attacking AU forces in Burundi a mistake, says Uganda

The minister of Defence, Doctor Crispus Kiyonga addresses journalists during a press conference about the peace talks of Burundi at Uganda Media Centre, Kampala on 8/1/2016. PHOTO BY JULIET KASIRYE

Uganda, the chief mediator in the Burundi talks, has said the president of the East African nation, Pierr Nkurunziza, would be committing a grave mistake by attacking the African Union (AU) peacekeepers.

Burundi has been ensnared in a political crisis in which close to 400 people have died and about 300,000 forced to flee into neigbouring countries in the East African region.

The violence erupted after Nkurunziza launched his bid to stand for another term in office after completing the constitutional two five year terms. He won the controversial election with a resounding victory in July, triggering further violence that has concentrated in Bujumbura and its suburbs.

The 54-member AU gave Burundi a four-day deadline on December 17 to accept a 5,000-strong force to halt months of violence. However, Nkurunziza on December 30 threatened to fight the proposed AU peacekeepers if they set foot on Burundian soil, defying intense global pressure to accept the force.

“Shooting at the African Union peacekeepers would be a big mistake. We are all members of AU and we are bound by its resolutions. If one is not satisfied with AU’s decision, they can challenge it through proper channels like through the AU summit,” Uganda’s defense minister, Crispus Kiyonga on Friday.
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