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Last Updated: Monday, 11 September 2006, 08:35 GMT 09:35 UK
Burundi rebels to lay down arms
Burundian FNL rebel leader Agathon Rwasa (R) and Burundian MP Brig Erneste Ndayishimye (L) sign an agreement to end hostilities
The two sides signed a ceasefire agreement on Thursday
A ceasefire in Burundi between the government and the last remaining rebel group has come into effect.

The FNL (National Liberation Forces) had been the only one of Burundi's main Hutu groups to remain outside a five-year-old peace process.

The process culminated last year with the election of a government led by Hutu ex-rebel leader Pierre Nkurunziza.

Under a new ceasefire agreement signed on Thursday, the FNL's estimated 3,000 fighters are due to disarm.

They are expected to start gathering at assembly points, where they must decide whether they want to be integrated into the national army or be demobilised.

The African Union and United Nations are due to help monitor the 30-day process.

No overall deal

Despite the accord, analysts remain cautious about the prospects for lasting peace after 13 years of civil war in Burundi.

Burundian refugees in Tanzania prepare to go home
Hundreds of thousands have fled the Burundi conflict over the years
The two sides remain far apart on issues critical to a comprehensive peace agreement and the truce was overshadowed by a government crisis.

Earlier this week, Vice-President Alice Nzomukunda resigned, saying corruption and human rights abuses were hampering government business.

More than 300,000 people have died in the war sparked in 1993 by the assassination of Burundi's first Hutu head of state.

Since independence in 1961, the country has been plagued by tension between the dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority.

Posts in the previously Tutsi-dominated army have been split equally between Tutsis and Hutus as part of a peace deal with other Hutu rebel groups.

Mr Nkurunziza was elected president last year, after a transition period.




SEE ALSO
Burundi's rebels sign ceasefire
07 Sep 06 |  Africa
Burundi: A question of justice
11 Sep 05 |  Africa
Country profile: Burundi
26 Feb 04 |  Country profiles

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