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The BBC's Cathy Jenkins reports
"Most importantly, Mr Mandela said that the peace process had to involve all the rebel groups"
 real 28k

The BBC's Martin Dawes reports
"A young mother of eight said there was so much shooting in Burundi, she had been forced to flee"
 real 28k

Sunday, 16 January, 2000, 19:36 GMT
Mandela slams Burundi's 'failed' leaders

Nelson Mandela shakes hands with deposed President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya


Nelson Mandela, the former South African president, has told representatives of the Burundian Government and opposition that they have badly failed their people.

Mr Mandela was speaking in the Tanzanian town of Arusha where he launched a new bid to revive the peace process.



Why do you allow yourselves to be regarded as leaders without talent, without vision?
Nelson Mandela

The former president squarely blamed Burundi's politicians for failing to show the talent and vision needed to end the brutal civil war that has cost some 200,000 lives in the last six years.

"Please join the modern world. Why do you allow yourselves to be regarded as leaders without talent, leaders without vision?" he asked.

He accused the leaders of Burundi of showing no urgency in their efforts to end the fighting, and told them that they would have to compromise to end what he said was a senseless slaughter.

"When people in the West hear these things they say 'Africans are still barbarians - no human being could do what they are doing'.

"The fact that women, children and the aged are being slaughtered every day is an indictment against all of you," he said.



He called us to order. It is our duty to respond
Silvestre Ntibantunganya

The listening politicians responded to the speech with a standing ovation.

The Burundi Government described the remarks as fair and understandable.

Minister for Peace, Ambroise Niyosaba, told the BBC that Mr Mandela's comments were a clear indication that he was committed to helping the country find a lasting solution to its civil war.

"He called us to order," the former president of Burundi, Silvestre Ntibantunganya, said. "It is our duty to respond."

"There are things he said which won't please everyone, but they were things which needed to be said," said Leonce Ndarubagiye of a faction of the CNDD rebel group.

International effort


Burundi army Fighting has left 200,000 people dead

Mr Mandela also announced that he had invited presidents Bill Clinton of the United States, Jacques Chirac of France and other world leaders for peace talks on Burundi in Arusha next month.

Similar invitations to attend the opening sessions of the talks had also been sent to Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Organisation of African Unity.

Mr Mandela was named as the new mediator in peace talks in December, replacing former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, who died in October.

Previous efforts under Mr Nyerere were considered to have failed because rebel Hutu groups were excluded from the negotiations.



He said things which didn't please everyone, but which needed to be said
Leonce Ndarubagiye

Mr Mandela conceded that the peace process had to involve all parties to the conflict.

"The process must be all-inclusive, otherwise there can be no guarantee that the decision of the people here, even if it is unanimous, will be respected by the armed groups on the ground."

Exodus continues

The number of people fleeing into Tanzania to escape the war in Burundi shows no sign of lessening.

A BBC correspondent in the Tanzanian town of Kibondo, says that it is simple fear that is causing the exodus.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, will be visiting refugee camps near the border on Monday.

She has appealed to the international community to devise concrete measures to ease the plight of millions who have been forced from their homes around Africa.

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See also:
06 Dec 99 |  Africa
New peace talks for Burundi
27 Dec 99 |  Africa
Burundi rebels reject Mandela talks
07 Jan 00 |  Africa
Burundi army blamed for massacre
03 Nov 99 |  Africa
Burundi's deadly deadlock
01 Dec 99 |  Africa
Mandela to head Burundi peace drive
13 Nov 99 |  Africa
UN alarmed over Burundi camps
22 Oct 99 |  Africa
US urges Burundi peace talks
14 Oct 99 |  Africa
UN suspends Burundi operations
21 Dec 99 |  Africa
Burundi tackles cholera in camps
13 Oct 99 |  Africa
Eyewitness: Inside Burundi's camps

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