Uganda Reaches Out to Armed Opposition Groups in Burundi Top story

1902 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The news comes two days after President Pierre Nkurunzizas government rejected an invitation to take part in talks scheduled for Wednesday in Tanzania in objection to the inclusion of opposition figures whom it holds responsible for the violence in Burundi.

The Ugandan government has extended an olive branch to emerging opposition forces that are said to be regrouping to fight against the government of Burundi.

Defence Minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga disclosed this at a press briefing in Kampala, following reports that opposition groups have armed their members in a bid to oust President Pierre Nkurunziza, a development that is likely to worsen the already fragile situation in Bujumbura.

The news comes two days after President Pierre Nkurunziza's government rejected an invitation to take part in talks scheduled for Wednesday in Tanzania in objection to the inclusion of opposition figures whom it holds responsible for the violence in Burundi.

But Dr Kiyonga says all parties must be brought on board if the violence in the country is to end. He reveals that Uganda will reach out to the opposition groups in a bid to stabilize the country.
 
//Cue In: I believe that there are armed people
Cue Out:…that's the way forward//
 
//Cue In: Abo abakute mundu…
Cue Out:…bade ku meeza bogere//
 
The Ugandan sponsored talks are part of regional efforts to resolve a crisis triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office - a move that was rejected by opponents as a violation of the constitution.

One of the armed opposition groups, Republican Forces of Burundi (Forebu), led by a former army colonel, Edward Nshimirima vowed to oust the Nkurunziza government, saying its role is to protect the population.

However, Kiyonga says this should be curtailed before the violence escalates.

He also advises the African Union to follow standard procedure for sending troops in another country to avoid an escalation of violence.

The plea is based on reports that the Government of Burundi had rejected plans for a 5,000-strong African Union peacekeeping force to be deployed in the country. President Pierre Nkurunzizza reportedly says that such an intervention would be interpreted as an attack on Burundi and the country would be forced to defend itself.
 
//Cue In: When you are going to deploy…
Cue Out:…there is no short cut//
 
//Cue In: (Luganda) Gavumenti ya Burundi…
Cue Out:…toyinza kwekuba//
 
The fate of the talks still hangs in balance following the disagreements. Kiyonga says a new date will be announced after the warring parties agree to fresh talks.

The United Nations estimates that more than 400 people have been killed in Burundi since the outbreak of the violence last year.
 

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.