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Burundi crisis talks delayed again

PHOTO:AFP

PHOTO:AFP

Long-stalled peace talks it is hoped would solve a year-long crisis in Burundi have been delayed again, the opposition said Friday.

Hundreds have been killed and a quarter of a million people have fled Burundi since President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision last April to run for a third term, a vote he won amid opposition boycotts in July.

A week of talks between rival factions and the government had been due to begin on May 2 in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, mediated by Tanzanian ex-president Benjamin Mkapa.

“We were told that mediators still needed time to consult as many people as possible,” said Jeremiah Minani from the main umbrella opposition group CNARED.

No date has been given for when the floundering peace efforts may begin. Previous talks, then mediated by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, failed to make any headway.

The Burundian government refuses to sit with key opponents who it accuses of involvement in a failed coup last May and of months of violence including grenade and rocket attacks.

Violence in the capital Bujumbura continues, with five drinkers gunned down late Thursday when gunmen stormed a bar an opened fire.



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