News / Africa

    Burundi Leader Stands Firm: No AU Troops, He Tells Visiting Envoys

    Samantha Power, the United States' U.N. ambassador, and Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza speak to reporters in Gitega, Burundi, Jan. 22, 2016.
    Samantha Power, the United States' U.N. ambassador, and Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza speak to reporters in Gitega, Burundi, Jan. 22, 2016.
    Margaret Besheer

    Burundi’s president remained firm Friday in his rejection of an African Union-proposed peacekeeping force to help restore calm to his country.

    “The people decided through the National Assembly,” President Pierre Nkurunziza told a visiting delegation of the U.N. Security Council. He said the African Union “must respect Burundi as a member state and we must be consulted” on the matter.

    Last month, the African Union announced it would deploy a 5,000-strong “prevention and protection” force to Burundi for an initial period of six months, following election-related violence that killed at least 439 people since April and caused more than 220,000 to flee the country.

    The situation in Burundi is expected to be a key topic when African heads of state meet next week at their annual summit in Addis Ababa.

    Observers fear that the violence sparked by what is seen by many as an unconstitutional third term for Nkurunziza could result in another civil war between the country’s ethnic Tutsis and Hutus — similar to the one that plagued the country from 1993 to 2005.

    Nkurunziza dismissed international concerns that a genocide, similar to the one that Rwanda experienced in 1994, could happen in Burundi.

    “I’m here to guarantee that there will never be another genocide in Burundi,” he said of massacres during his country’s civil war.

    Rwandan interference

    He also lashed out at neighboring Rwanda, telling the Security Council that “the threat is not from within Burundi — it comes from outside. The Rwandan government must be told to stop.”

    Young men hold a banner along a road taken by a U.N. Security Council convoy in Bujumbura, Burundi, Jan. 21, 2016.
    Young men hold a banner along a road taken by a U.N. Security Council convoy in Bujumbura, Burundi, Jan. 21, 2016.

    Nkurunziza’s government has previously accused Rwanda of supporting a rebel group that recruits and arms Burundian refugees on Rwandan territory.

    Albert Shingiro, Burundi's permanent representative to the United Nations, who attended the meeting, said he welcomed remarks from his U.S. counterpart, Samantha Power, about the need to warn Rwanda not to interfere in Burundi.

    Disappointment, but efforts continue

    Power told reporters after the more than two-hour-long meeting with the president that “we did not achieve as much, frankly, as I think we would have liked.” She said, however, that the council would not be deterred, “because the cause of peace in Burundi is too important to give up.”

    Council members have been urging the government to hold meaningful, inclusive dialogue with the opposition.

    On Friday, they also held a series of meetings with political parties, civil society groups and religious leaders who reflected both pro-government and opposition views. They also met with a group of independent media representatives.

    Power said the council believes that “a more substantial international presence” could help restore stability. That would include a beefed-up U.N. presence, led by the secretary-general’s special adviser, Jamal Benomar.

    Rural retreat

    The council met Nkurunziza at his rural retreat 100 kilometers north of the capital, Bujumbura. As their convoy snaked through the hills, it passed lush agricultural areas with banana groves and coffee and tea farms.

    The convoy periodically encountered pro-government demonstrators carrying identical signs urging no interference and pronouncing Burundi a “peaceful country.” Some protesters chanted “Burundi sawa!” — “Burundi is OK!” in Swahili. Their numbers swelled to the hundreds just before the convoy approached the presidential residence.

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Ann Garrison from: United States
    January 24, 2016 7:42 PM
    Good reporting.

    by: Jason_he
    January 23, 2016 1:26 AM
    Do not say anything

    by: Bakame
    January 23, 2016 1:03 AM
    Peter is just a criminal.
    He should be sent in LaHaye.
    He made his a lawless Country.
    Shame and Shame

    by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Xamar-Weyne, Somalia
    January 22, 2016 10:44 PM
    Right here in Somalia, we were one nation, one people, one religion, one culture, one tradition and one mother these all never helped us nothing; slow-motion of genocide is ongoing, and high volume violence against women and minorities (point five) happens daily.
    Being homogeneous people does not prevent from genocide, violence and killing.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora