UN to send peacekeepers to Burundi to contain violence?

November 19, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Darell Maurice

The United Nations is considering sending peacekeepers to Burundi from neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, if the current violence increases and becomes uncontrollable.

“One option is to bring in troops from UN stabilisation mission in DRC, MONUSCO by the border with Burundi” explained a Security Council diplomat who last week spoke on the condition of anonymity about the measures to be taken should the violence amplify in Burundi.

“The 20,000 soldiers of MONUSCO in DRC are supported by a Rapid Reaction Force composed of elite soldiers from South Africa, Malawi and Tanzania, which could also be deployed in Burundi,” added the diplomat. Another option would be to deploy troops from the African Union, made up of soldiers from several countries in the region.

In a draft resolution last week submitted by the Security Council, France urged the international community to end the violence intensified in Burundi and wake up the specter of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. The draft resolution threatens sanctions to the perpetrators of these political crimes and requests Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to present measures within 15 days aimed at strengthening the United Nations’ presence in Burundi. The deployment of peacekeepers in Burundi however requires approval by the Burundian authorities or a decision of the Security Council under Chapter 7, which allows the UN to use force.

The Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft, whose country chairs the Security Council in November last week told press that the negotiations on the resolution were progressing “very quickly.” The question is whether Russia in particular, which has a veto, will support these sanctions, since it considers this violence as an internal problem for Burundi.

According to a spokesman for the UN’s Peacekeeping Operations, “the use of the personnel and property of MONUSCO was mentioned as one possible option. The Security Council will ultimately decide, but a regional coalition would be well placed to make a rapid and credible response if the situation in Burundi errupts,” he stated.

The international community fears large-scale violence, recent events increasing the inflammatory ethnic connotations. The diplomats also worry about the possible involvement of Rwanda after the Rwandan President Paul Kagame accused the Burundian leaders of “killing” their people.

 

 

 

 

 

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Darell Maurice

Darell Maurice is a Journalist based in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital city Kinshasa and works for Canal7kintv. He also blogs here.

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