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Human Rights Watch Criticizes Burundi Peace Deal

An international human rights group has criticized a peace deal in Burundi that gives both government troops and rebels immunity from prosecution.

A report released Monday by U.S.-based Human Rights Watch cites incidents in which government soldiers and rebels allegedly killed or raped civilians.

The report accuses members of two Hutu rebel groups - the Forces for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) and the National Liberation Forces (FNL) - of taking part in the crimes.

Last month, the FDD and the government signed a peace deal in which they agreed to give temporary immunity to members of the armed forces and FDD fighters pending a decision sometime in the future over how to deal with human rights abuses committed by both sides.

The deal allowed the rebels to take up posts in the power-sharing government.

The FNL rebel group has refused to negotiate with the government and has continued to fight with FDD forces and government troops.

Burundi's civil war pits rebels from the country's Hutu majority against the Tutsi-dominated army. More than 200,000 people are believed to have died in the conflict.