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» 16.10.2009 - HRW calls on Burundi to halt deportation of refugees
» 02.10.2009 - US awards contract for the construction of new embassy in Burundi
» 27.11.2008 - EU "shocked" by Burundi's gay criminalisation
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Politics | Human rights

Burundi denies war crimes in DR Congo

Burundian government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba

© BINUB/afrol News
afrol News, 24 September
- The government of Burundi is reacting strongly to a UN report being elaborated about war crimes committed in Congo Kinshasa (DRC) from 1993 to 2003. Burundi demands being removed from the list of countries involved.

The Bujumbura government this week urged the UN Secretary-General to remove Burundi from the list of countries involved in serious human rights violations committed in the DRC between March 1993 and June 2003, according to a preliminary UN report.

"The government of Burundi has sent a protest note against the allegations made against the former Burundian Armed Forces (FAB) and ex-Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD, former rebels) to the General Secretariat of the UN," said a statement signed by Burundian government spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba.

A preliminary UN report, which identified serious human rights and international humanitarian law violations between 1993 and 2003 in Congo Kinshasa, describes massacres, rapes and looting by soldiers from several countries and rebel groups the Great Lakes region during the two wars that took place in the former Zaire.

It thus also involves the former Burundian army and Burundian FDD rebels in several serious human rights violations in the DRC during this period, according to the UN Office in Bujumbura.

But according to the government statement, these allegations against the ex-FAB and ex-FDD were totally unfounded as neither of these two armed forces ever had operated on the ground in neighbouring Congo.

"The theatre of operations" of Burundian combatants "has always been on Burundian soil," says spokesman Nzobonariba.

Successive Burundian governments have always denied the country at any time had intervened, on the side of Rwanda and Uganda, to hunt down Zaire's former President Mobutu Sese Seko. Moreover, according to some sources, the former FDD rebels were allied with the Mobutu regime and integrated into the Zairian armed forces.

Burundi is emerging from a long civil war (1993-2006). During the war, the main combatants included the FAB, then dominated by the Tutsi minority, versus several Hutu rebel movements, including the FDD, which currently is in power. Since 2005, Burundi has army and police forces composed of both ethnic groups.

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