Burundi's ruling party admits "political collaboration" with FNL terrorists
President Ndayizeye is expected to lose the forthcoming Burundian elections
BURUNDI: Army arrests scores of child soldiers
As the Burundian army announces the arrest of scores of FNL child soldiers, Burundi's ruling FRODEBU party has admitted "political collaboration" with Agathon Rwasa's Hutu-extremist group. Human rights groups have accused Rwasa's FNL of massive human rights abuses in recent years, including torture, extortion, summary executions, the recruitment of child soldiers, and ethnically-targeted killings of civilians. In August 2004, the FNL admitted responsibility for the Gatumba massacre, in which more than 150 Congolese Tutsi refugees were killed. At the time, Burundi's President condemned the attack and ordered the arrest of Agathon Rwasa - yet no arrests have ever been made. FRODEBU's electoral rival, CNDD-FDD, has alleged that the FNL is now being employed by the ruling party to attack and intimidate voters in the run-up to the forthcoming general election. Terrorist attacks have continued in recent weeks. In Muhuta commune, on June 16th, attackers believed to be members of the FNL opened fire on a crowd of churchgoers, killing six people, including the pastor, and injuring seven others. Burundi's Radio Publique Africain reported earlier this week that FNL militants had been conducting a 'whispering campaign' in Hutu areas, alleging that the CNDD-FDD leader Peter (Pierre) Nkurunziza is a Tutsi, and urging them to support Frodebu. A Frodebu spokesman has denied involvement in the violence, but admits "political collaboration" with the FNL.
President Ndayizeye's decision to ally himself with the FNL follows his party's heavy defeat by CNDD-FDD in the Burundian local elections earlier this month.
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