AU abandons Burundi peacekeeper plan

The African Union has abandoned its plan to send 5,000 peacekeepers to help restore stability to troubled Burundi.

Officials said they would instead encourage political dialogue between Burundi’s opposing sides.

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza had fiercely opposed the AU plan’s to send peacekeepers.

His decision last April to seek a third term in office has led to ongoing violence and fears that Burundi is sliding into ethnic conflict.

At least 439 people have died and 240,000 have fled abroad since last April, the UN says.

The AU could have deployed troops without Burundi’s consent – a clause in its charter allows it to intervene in a member state because of grave circumstances, which include war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity – but it would have been the first time it had done so.

Top AU diplomat Ibrahima Fall said such a move would have been “unimaginable”.

Source: BBC

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