A statement released Thursday by the FNL splinter group implored the international community to intervene and end the rebellion. "We ask the international community to tell FNL leader Agathon Rwasa that now is time to go into talks and that Burundi needs this," it said.
The break-away faction also accuses Rwasa, the leader of a Hutu extremist rebel group of excessive abuse of human rights by recruiting child soldiers. "Everyday children who are fighting for FNL are killed," the statement adds.
Local media in Burundi quoted the splinter group spokesman, Sylvestre Niyungeko, as saying it was time for Rwasa to listen to his members or risk their wrath.
"Agathon Rwasa must cease hostilities and enter into talks immediately with the current government, otherwise all FNL members and fighters will stand up and kick him out," Niyungeko said.
"It is nonsense to pursue war, what we have been fighting for was achieved. Hutu people have been integrated in the army and they are ruling the country now," he added.
The international community declared FNL a terrorist organization to compel it to join the peace process to no avail. Save for the FNL, several other former rebel groups have signed ceasefire agreements with former governments and joined in the country's transitional institutions. Analysts say the current Burundi government under former (FDD-CNDD) rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza should woo the FNL rebels into peace talks and bring to an end the insurgency in Burundi.
Nkurunziza, himself a former Hutu rebel leader, was sworn in on Aug. 26 and vowed to pursue peace to end 12 years of conflict that killed 300,000 people in the country.
As a threat to Nkurunziza's government thousands of soldiers and former rebels remain armed and, in May 2005, there were an estimated 250,000 small arms still in circulation.
Meanwhile, Burundi's government and the United Nations have agreed to set up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission and war crimes court. The Commission will examine the causes of Burundi's decades of ethnic tensions and compile a list of people suspected of genocide and war crimes. The suspects will be tried by the new court.
In 2004, an estimated 90,000 mainly Hutu refugees returned to Burundi from Tanzania. Some had been away for up to 20 years. They now need food and land. The land issue is complicated by the fact that some want to return to their original land, which in most cases has been farmed by other people for years.
Burundi, human rights, Current Affairs, Politics, Africa
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