Thursday, December 15, 2005

Report #59 on the Era of Peace

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Burundi army says kills 120 rebels since October
Thu 15 Dec 2005 4:12 AM ET
By Patrick Nduwimana

BUJUMBURA, Dec 15 ( Reuters) - Burundi's army has killed 120 fighters from the only remaining Hutu rebel group and captured more than 600 others since October in a major offensive in the rebels' stronghold.

"The government has launched a campaign against the FNL (Forces for National Liberation). This campaign has been very successful," Burundi's Defence Minister Germain Niyoyankana told a press conference late on Wednesday.

"Since October, 120 rebels have been killed, 646 captured and more than 1,500 people who used to collaborate with that movement have surrendered and are now under the protection of the army," he said.

Burundi is struggling to emerge from a 12-year civil war between rebels from the Hutu majority and a Tutsi elite that has killed 300,000 people in the tiny country since 1993.

Most Burundians believe the country is on the path to peace after a series of polls led to the swearing-in of former rebel Pierre Nkurunziza as president in August, but sporadic clashes continue between FNL rebels and the army.

Niyoyankana said the army had seized 84 assorted arms from the rebels and predicted that the FNL, estimated to number about 3,000 fighters, would soon disappear after suffering the losses.

"I can't say that by the end of December the war will be over. But I am quite sure that at the end of December, the FNL will be in trouble not only with (Burundi) government, but also with the entire region," he said.

"If I have any appeal to make, I invite them to enter into peace talks as soon as possible."

But the FNL dismissed the defence minister's announcement as pure propaganda.

"It is not the first time they have announced that they have finished us, it is pure propaganda," FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana told Reuters.

Habimana repeated FNL's position that it would only talk to the government if the state stops harassing its members.

"We have submitted to the mediator our complaints that the current government is committing genocide against our members," he told Reuters. "Our members are tortured and imprisoned, the government must stop persecuting our members."

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Anonymous servitium said...

Prayers for your success and well being my friend. May God use you and bless you and yours always.


January 13, 2006 7:20 PM  

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