Burundi leaders chide AU for buying “genocide conspiracy,” proposed troop deployment

AFRICAN UNION AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ARE BEING DUPED: Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, Burundi's Minister for Security

AFRICAN UNION AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY ARE BEING DUPED: Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, Burundi’s Minister for Security

Burundi National Security Council has blasted the African Union for using genocide as a pretext to deploy peacekeeping troops to Burundi saying leaders of the May 13th failed coup are behind the “conspiracy.”

In its Monday session under the chairmanship of President Pierre Nkurunziza, the Council blamed the international community for being misled by the coup plotters whose intention is to come to power through deceitful means.

“The National Security Council wishes to inform the national and international community that the threat of genocide justifying this deployment is only a conspiracy mounted by government detractors to complete the failed coup triggered on May 13, 2015,” said Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni, Security Minister and member of the Council.

The council contends the fact that Burundi has contributed, and continues to contribute troops to a number of peacekeeping efforts in the region and beyond proof that the Central African nation is capable of ensuring the security of its population.

“The National Security Council wishes to remind that the coup plotters have resorted to a strategy of conveying wrong information and rumours in order to maintain just a psychosis of an impending genocide, but also to force reactions in international community,” added Minister Bunyoni.

Comprised of the president and his two vice-presidents, several ministers including those of Public Security and Defense, and several security forces, the 17-member body advises the head of state on issues of security.

The council’s opposition to the AU’s peacekeeping initiatives comes a day after legislators in Burundi collectively condemned the continental organisation’s effort.

Last week, the AU approved the deployment of a 5,000-men African mission of prevention and protection in Burundi (MAPROBU), for an initial period of six months eligible for extension.

To the chagrin of Addis Ababa, and the UN Security Council, the authorities in Bujumbura have voiced strong disapproval of potential peacekeepers warning if AU goes ahead with the proposal, Burundi will consider the troops “invading forces” and respond accordingly.

This past weekend, the UN Security Council had urged Bujumbura to endorse the proposal within four days. AU has said it invoke the body’s Article 4 to send troops to Burundi to protect civilians.

The article state’s it is “the right of the Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.”

Meanwhile, President Paul Kagame of neighbouring Rwanda has ruled out contributing troops to the African Union proposed peacekeeping effort in Burundi although he believes the situation there merits a military intervention.

“The crisis in Burundi is political, not military, but it may require some level of military to quiet down the guns,” the Rwandan leader said Tuesday adding “we are appealing to Burundians to sort out their problems.”

Kagame further denied reports that his country was fanning the flames in Burundi labeling the allegations “childish.”

The Burundian government has accused Rwanda of hosting leaders of the May 13 failed coup, and training and recruiting Burundian refugees supporting them to launch cross-border attacks. Also last week, a report by an advocacy group Refugees International claimed Rwanda was recruiting and training Burundian refugees in Rwandan camps enlisting them in non-state armed groups.

In a related development, Uganda, the facilitating country in the failed talks between the players in the turmoil announced last week plans to resume dialogue between stakeholders.

The crisis has thus far claimed more than 400 lives and forced about 220,000 into exile.