UK-funded troops land in Burundi
The other half of the Rwandan nightmare ...
UK-funded troops sent to disarm rebels in Burundi have arrived in the Central African nationâs capital, Bujumbura. The 217-strong Mozambican contingent aims to help end the decade-long civil war that has claimed an estimated 300,000 mainly civilian lives. The UK Government has given Mozambique Â£3.7m to help implement the 2002 peace deal between the Burundi Government and three of four Hutu rebel groups. Minister for Africa Chris Mullin said the deployment was a significant step for Mozambique and Burundi. "We were pleased to provide assistance to the Mozambique Government to enable this deployment to go ahead," he said.
"Seeing as weâre rather busy at the moment."
"The mission is a significant first for African peacekeeping operations. It is a concrete example of the commitment of African leaders to establish peace and security in their own continent."
I guess since heâs a diplomat he has to say those things, but does he really believe them?
At a ceremony at Bujumbura airport to welcome the Mozambicans, head of the African Union peace mission in Burundi, Mamadou Bah, said: ""We are ready to deploy the contingent in the countryside for the task it was called here for." The troops are tasked with providing the warring parties safe passage to designated assembly areas and easing the delivery of humanitarian aid. But a rebel group, the National Liberation Forces, has refused to join peace talks, saying those discussions will do nothing to overturn the long-standing dominance of the Tutsi minority in the country of 6.5 million people.
"Weâll wait 366 days and start shootinâ again! Or maybe we wonât wait!"
The African Union mission is due to stay for a year, pending the expected deployment of a United Nations peacekeeping force.
Posted by: Steve White 2003-10-20