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Last Updated: Monday, 16 May, 2005, 06:28 GMT 07:28 UK
Last rebels make peace in Burundi
By Robert Walker
BBC News

Burundi President Domitien Ndayizeye (l) with FNL leader Agathon Rwasa (r)
President Ndayizeye (l) has now brought all the rebels aboard
Burundi's president and the head of the only rebel group still outside the peace process have reached agreement.

Domitien Ndayizeye and the leader of the National Liberation Forces, Agathon Rwasa, agreed to end all hostilities after talks in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The country's transitional government is due to hand power to an elected administration in August.

Rebels from the Hutu majority and an army dominated by the Tutsi minority have waged 12 years of civil war.

This agreement signed has raised hopes that Burundi can overcome one of its final obstacles to peace.

Massacre

The FNL, a small group which draws its support from the country's Hutu majority, has remained active only in the province around the capital, Bujumbura.

Although other Hutu rebel movements joined Burundi's power-sharing government in recent years, the FNL refused to enter the peace process.

But the group found itself under increasing pressure over the past year.

There have been concerted military offensives against it and last year the FNL was denounced by regional leaders as a terrorist group following a massacre at a camp housing Congolese refugees.

The FNL said it carried out the attack, in which more than a 150 ethnic Tutsis were murdered.

If a lasting peace deal can now be agreed between the government and the FNL, it will boost efforts to recover from the civil war.

A constitution designed to share power between Hutus and Tutsis was approved in a referendum earlier this year and parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled for coming months.

But the challenge of reconciliation still lies ahead, as does the task of bringing to justice those responsible for crimes committed by all sides during the war.


SEE ALSO:
Burundi backs new constitution
01 Mar 05 |  Africa
Burundi approves new famine tax
13 Jan 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Burundi
26 Feb 04 |  Country profiles


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