Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza has threatened to fight any peacekeepers sent by the African Union to halt political and ethnic violence that has claimed hundreds of lives in his country. He said on Wednesday in Bujumbura that the AU resolution of sending 5,000 peacekeepers to Burundi would not work.
Nkurunziza said AU must respect Burundi’s independence and borders. “If they break this convention, they will be attacking the country and every citizen will stand up to fight them. “The country will be attacked and we will defend ourselves,” he said.
The president also criticized peace talks between the government and the opposition launched by Ugandan mediators in Entebbe on Monday. Nkurunziza said government was against the Entebbe dialogue and called it “a wrong beginning” because the participants had included plotters of a coup that failed in May.
Nkurunziza’s announcement in April that he would seek a third term in office and his election victory in July, sparked violent protests and attacks. Police and the youth wing of the ruling party have killed suspected government opponents, while armed groups, including renegade soldiers, have tried to topple Nkurunziza.
Nearly 90 people were killed in several simultaneous attacks against military posts earlier in the month. Rebels then announced the creation of a new force, the Republican Forces of Burundi.