Burundi Rejects Proposed African Union “Invasion Force”

Burundi Rejects Proposed African Union “Invasion Force”

Paul Joseph Nzeribe, Noriko Watanabe and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times


Parliamentarians in Burundi have reacted strongly to attempts by outside nations to meddle into the internal affairs of this nation. Indeed, proposals by the African Union (AU) for a peacekeeping force are deemed an “invasion force.” Therefore, African nations – and European nations including Belgium and France – must take note of the government of Burundi before deciding on upping the ante.

The fear in Burundi is that the AU and certain European nations may encourage militants that oppose the central government. After all, if the AU deems it necessary to intervene despite tensions being limited to certain areas of Burundi, then how will the AU respond if opposition forces seek military confrontation with central forces?

France 24 (AFP) reports that: “lawmakers complained of Western “interference” and biased media coverage of Burundi’s crisis…”

Recently, anti-government forces launched a military attack against army installations in the capital of Burundi. These attacks against the central government were repulsed. Therefore, the government of Burundi is fearful that outside nations will encourage opposition forces to turn to violence, in order to help the AU to intervene.

Modern Tokyo Times stressed in a past article: “It is too early to say if external players were involved but irrespective of this it is essential that nations like Belgium, France and Rwanda don’t act independently. If external players take sides then the delicate situation will flip out of control.”

The AU recently announced a 5,000 strong military force to Burundi in order to stem the violence. This organization also made it abundantly clear that if Burundi declined the offer, then AU troops would be sent either way.

Not surprisingly, the government of Burundi is strongly denouncing the proposed AU “invasion force.” Jean-Claude Karerwa, the deputy presidential spokesperson for Burundi, states “Burundi is clear on the matter: it is not ready to accept an AU force on its territory…If AU troops came without the government’s approval, it would be an invasion and occupation force, and the Burundi government would reserve the right to act accordingly.”

Therefore, it is essential that the AU is open to genuine dialogue with the government of Burundi. Similarly, it is essential that the leader of Burundi remains focused on dialogue internally and externally.

After all, if the AU enters Burundi without the consent of the government of this nation, then this may open up a can of worms that suits neither side.



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