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Burundi crisis talks delayed again

Burundi talks in Kampala. Museveni chaired this session but another meeting has so far failed to materialise.
Burundi talks in Kampala. Museveni chaired this session but another meeting has so far failed to take place.

Nairobi, Kenya | AFP |

Long-stalled peace talks that many hope will solve a year-long crisis in Burundi have been delayed again, the opposition said Friday.

Hundreds have been killed and a quarter of a million people have fled Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision last April to run for a third term, a vote he won amid opposition boycotts in July.

 

A week of talks between rival factions and the government had been due to begin on May 2 in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, mediated by Tanzanian ex-president Benjamin Mkapa.

“We were told that mediators still needed time to consult as many people as possible,” said Jeremiah Minani from the main umbrella opposition group CNARED.

The floundering peace efforts are now expected to resume on May 21. Previous talks, then mediated by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, failed to make any headway.

The Burundian government refuses to sit with key opponents who it accuses of involvement in a failed coup last May and of months of violence including grenade and rocket attacks.

Violence in the capital Bujumbura continues, with five drinkers gunned down late Thursday when gunmen stormed a bar and opened fire.

 

Gunmen kill five in Burundi bar attack: police

Gunmen in trenchcoats burst into a bar firing at drinkers in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura killing five, police said Friday, the latest in a string of attacks in the troubled country.

Four civilians and a soldier were killed and three others were wounded in the shooting late on Thursday.

“A group of four armed criminals wearing long coats entered … they started shooting at customers,” police spokesman Moise Nkurunziza said.

Hundreds have been killed and a quarter of a million people have fled Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision last April to run for a third term, a vote he won amid opposition boycotts in July.

The latest efforts to hold talks between rival factions are due to open on Monday in the Tanzanian town of Arusha.

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