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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 23:09 GMT 00:09 UK
UN agrees to Burundi peace force
By Susannah Price
BBC United Nations correspondent

Burundians in refugee camp
Burundi has suffered a decade of conflict
The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously in favour of sending a peacekeeping force to Burundi, which is emerging from 10 years of civil war.

The UN Secretary General Kofi Annan had recommended that this UN force should take over from the African Union peacekeepers currently there.

Civil war broke out in 1993 after the democratically-elected Hutu president was killed by Tutsi paratroopers.

About 300,000 people have been killed in the subsequent conflict.

The 15-member Security Council voted unanimously to send more 5,500 peacekeepers to Burundi.

They are expected to ensure the ceasefire agreements are respected, investigate violations, monitor the illegal flow of weapons and carry out demobilisation of combatants.

The UN mission will also include civilian police and other personnel who will be involved in training the police force and helping with elections, which are expected by October.

Last year, the largest rebel group joined the government, but recently pulled out, saying it was inadequately represented.

Mr Annan, said he hoped the resolution would give the people of Burundi the incentive to move forward and resolve the issue which had gone on for too long.

Burundi's ambassador to the UN, Mark Nteturuye, said apart from the troops from the African Union already on the ground, they expected peacekeepers from Nepal and Pakistan. He said they were looking for additional French speakers.

The UN operation will be for an initial six-month period, but is expected to be renewed.




SEE ALSO:
Burundi hit by healthcare crisis
06 May 04  |  Africa


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