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Thousands march in Bujumbura over AUC’s head remarks

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By MOSES HAVYARIMANA
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Thousands of Burundians Saturday marched through the capital Bujumbura in protest against comments made by African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat after the collapse of the EAC Heads of State Summit after Burundi boycotted it.

In a December 1 statement, Faki expressed concerns on the Inter-Burundi dialogue stalemate and called on Bujumbura to show the spirit of compromise the current situation demanded.

“It is crucial that all concerned stakeholders refrain from any measures, including political and/or judicial, likely to complicate the search for a consensual solution,” reads the statement, in part.

Bujumbura accuses the AUC of protecting former president Pierre Buyoya, who is currently the Africa Union (AU) special envoy to Mali.

“Burundi rejects the statement made by the Chairperson of the African Union Commission because he is covering for his close friend (Pierre Buyoya) who is among the 17 people whose arrest warrant was issued,” said home affairs assistant minister Tharcisse Niyongabo.

Last week, Burundi issued international arrest warrants for 17 individuals currently abroad including Mr Buyoya.

Mr Niyongabo called on those whose arrest warrant had been issued to return home and allow independent investigations to be conducted to clear their names or ask for forgiveness.

State prosecutor Sylvestre Nyandwi said that the arrest warrants were issued on suspects linked to the assassination of the country’s first democratically elected Hutu President Melchior Ndadaye in 1993.

His assassination sparked ethnic violence that spiralled into a decade long civil war claiming more than 300,000 lives.

UN investigation report on the murder accused the army command of the assassination.

President Ndadaye is considered as the country’s hero for democracy and was the founder of the Front for Democracy in Burundi (FRODEBU) —then considered a Hutu majority party.



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