From the beautiful city that is Kampala report reaching us has it that Uganda the landlocked country in East Africa whose diverse landscape encompasses the snow-capped Rwenzori Mountains and immense Lake Victoria, resume peace talk mediation between Burundi and opposition parties resumes this week.
Uganda said on Saturday “it would resume mediating a peace process in Burundi after worsening violence that has pushed the Central African country close to civil war and led the African Union to propose a peace keeping force. Burundi slid into crisis in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans for a third term in office.
The United Nations says at least 400 people have been killed since April when Nkurunziza’s decision triggered protests and later a failed military coup.
Uganda’s defense minister, Chrispus Kiyonga, told a news conference in Kampala the security situation in Burundi had been deteriorating.
“It is now considered appropriate and critical that the dialogue resumes,” Kiyonga said.
He said about 14 groups representing various sections of Burundian society, including the ruling party, opposition parties and civil society would attend the talks.
The talks will resume in Uganda on Dec. 28 and thereafter move to Arusha in northern Tanzania. Arusha is the headquarters of the regional bloc East African Community (EAC), to which Burundi belongs. In July the EAC appointed Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni to mediate in the conflict and initial meetings were held in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura in the same month.
In the worst clashes since the failed coup in May, insurgents attacked military camps in the capital Bujumbura last week and nearly 90 people were killed.
On Friday, the African Union said it was preparing to send 5,000 peace keepers to Burundi to protect civilians, for the first time using powers to deploy troops to a member country against its will.
Rights groups have reported violent clashes between protesters and authorities, gun attacks and detentions of government critics. The government dismisses reports of rights abuses.
Hundreds of thousands have also fled the worst violence to hit the country since it emerged from an ethnically charged civil war in 2005.
Demonstrators said the president’s decision to stand in an election he eventually won broke constitutional term limits, while his supporters pointed to a court ruling allowing his bid.