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Friday, 20 October, 2000, 19:57 GMT 20:57 UK
Burundi demands regional action against rebels

With the deadline for Burundian rebels to sign a ceasefire now expired, the government has called on neighbouring countries to force the rebels to the negotiating table.

The minister with responsibility for the peace process, Ambroise Niyonsaba, said regional leaders -- who had promised all necessary action to stop the violence if the deadline was not met -- should now honour their commitment and find ways of putting pressure on the rebels.

The fighting has intensified in recent weeks and on Thursday a leading rebel commander set a list of ceasefire conditions that the government could not meet.

The boom of heavy artillery could be heard on Friday on the northern outskirts of the capital, Bumumbura, but no casualties were reported. There's been civil war since 1993 between the mainly-Tutsi government and army, and rebels from the majority Hutu community.

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