President Yahya Jammeh has traveled to Ethiopia to frustrate the African Union’s plans to deploy peacekeeping mission in Burundi, a country that risks sliding into another genocide. Burundi and its neighbour Rwanda both went through genocide resulting to mass termination of Tutsis.
President Jammeh is so far the only African leader who has voiced out his opposition to the deployment of 5,000 AU peacekeepers in the troubled East African nation.
“It is not only Burundi that is resisting that idea,” Jammeh told reporters at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa. He has failed to name any opposition nation. Mr. Jammeh said The Gambia was among the countries that opposed the AU proposal “without the consent of Burundi.”
Burundi had earlier rejected the African Union’s Peace and Security Council’s announced plan to send troops in December.
President Pierre Nkrunziza’s decision to run for a third term last year left Burundi reeling with endless violence. Close to 400 opponents of the government were reported killed by Burundian forces.
Amnesty International has provided satellite images of mass graves near the capital, which according to activists, should pressure African leaders to avoid the country slipping deeper into genocide. But some African Union leaders like Yahya Jammeh would not want to set a precedent that could turn against them in the future. This leaves the union to put the matter to vote. With a two-third majority vote, the AU Charter allows forces to be sent against the host country’s will if there is a risk of “war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.”
President Nkrunziza, who is represented by his Foreign Minister, described the deployment as an “invasion.”