African Union threatens Burundi sanctions

Addis Ababa - The African Union on Wednesday threatened to sanction Burundi's rival factions if they failed to attend peace talks next month, as it pushes the government to accept a peacekeeping force.

Burundi's government and opposition, who met in Uganda on Monday, are due to meet again in January in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha for talks aimed at ending months of violence.

The unrest has raised fear of a return to all-out war in the tiny central African nation, nine years after the end of a civil war.

Ugandan officials said talks would resume on January 6 but the Burundi government delegation said "no consensus" had been reached on the date.

AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma warned of sanctions if violence continues and talks do not go ahead.

"All those whose action could jeopardize the inter-Burundian dialogue, including attacks by armed groups against governmental facilities and other targets, as well as refusal to respond to the invitation of the mediator, shall be subjected to sanctions," AU Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in a statement seen on Wednesday.

She gave no further details of possible sanctions, which have been threatened before, but called for "unreserved cooperation" with the peace process "in order to put an end to the violence."

The unrest began in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term, which he went on to win in July.

The 54-member African Union gave Burundi a four-day deadline on December 17 to accept a 5,000-strong force to halt the violence, pledging to send troops despite Burundi saying it was opposed to an "invasion force."

The force, the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi, is known by its acronym in French, MAPROBU.

The AU is "ready to engage, without any delay" negotiations with Bujumbura to push the deployment of the force, Dlamini-Zuma said.

"The rapid deployment of MAPROBU will go a long way in contributing to the creation of conditions conducive to the successful completion of the inter-Burundian dialogue," she added.

Burundi is still recovering from an ethnically-charged civil war between majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, which cost an estimated 300 000 lives between 1993 and 2006.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 1898 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
49% - 8728 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 6472 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 633 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.45
-1.6%
Rand - Pound
19.83
-1.0%
Rand - Euro
16.72
-0.6%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.56
-0.3%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-1.7%
Gold
1,778.99
-1.3%
Silver
20.26
-2.7%
Palladium
2,159.00
-3.1%
Platinum
937.50
-3.0%
Brent Crude
98.15
-1.5%
Top 40
64,022
+0.0%
All Share
70,741
+0.0%
Resource 10
63,315
-1.2%
Industrial 25
86,967
+0.5%
Financial 15
16,154
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE