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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 14:34 GMT
Burundi to withdraw from DR Congo
President Pierre Buyoya
Hutu rebels are still fighting Buyoya
Burundi will pull its troops out of the Democratic Republic of Congo, its government has announced.

In exchange for that commitment, the authorities in Kinshasa have pledged to stop supporting Burundian rebels on Congolese soil.

The Kinshasa government may not be controlling what is taking place in eastern DR Congo, where the FDD rebels are based

Prime Ndikumagenge
The announcement came after talks between the Burundian and Congolese foreign ministers in Kinshasa on Monday.

Despite public denials, Burundi has had troops in Congo since August 1998 when it joined Rwanda and Uganda in their attempt to overthrow the then Congolese President, Laurent Kabila.

For at least as long, the Congolese government has been supporting ethnic Hutu rebels fighting the government in Bujumbura.


The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge in the Burundi capital, Bujumbura, told Network Africa that this is the first time that the authorities there have admitted that Burundian troops have been deployed in Congolese territory.

He says that until now, Bujumbura has always maintained that its soldiers were on its side of the border.

Our correspondent says that many Burundians are doubtful that the deal will make Bujumbura any safer.

South Africa peacekeepers
South African troops are trying to keep the peace

"The Kinshasa government may not be controlling what is taking place in eastern DR Congo, where the FDD rebels are based," he said.

The FDD is still launching attacks against Burundian targets despite the establishment of a power-sharing government last November.

President Pierre Buyoya will remain in charge for 18 months, before his Hutu Vice-President, Domitien Ndayizeye, replaces him.

The deal was brokered by former South African President, Nelson Mandela.

A contingent of 700 South African troops is in Burundi, with the goal of protecting the Hutu politicians who are taking part in the coalition government.

The BBC's Prime Ndikumagenge in Bujumbura
"This is the first time the Burundi Government has admitted it has troops on Congo's territory"
See also:

04 Jan 02 | Africa
Peacekeeper murdered in Burundi
11 Jan 02 | Africa
Aid worker murdered in Burundi
14 Dec 01 | Africa
Rights group slates Burundi
19 Nov 01 | Africa
Rebel attack in Burundi capital
12 Nov 01 | Africa
Students flee Burundi rebels
09 Nov 01 | Africa
UN calls for ceasefire in Burundi
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