E African peacekeeping force ready for Burundi deployment

The East African Standby Force (EASF) is ready to be deployed to Burundi which has suffered months-long unrest if the African Union (AU) gives the order.

The East African Standby Force (EASF) is ready to be deployed to Burundi which has suffered months-long unrest if the African Union (AU) gives the order.

The remarks were made by EASF director Chanfi Issimail at a news conference held on Monday at the African Union’s regional headquarters in the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

“For EASF to deploy, there is a process to follow which must be decided by the AU Peace and Security Council and endorsed by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government,” Issimail said.

The 11-year-old EASF, with a strength of 5,000 soldiers from ten East African nations, has the full operational ability to contain civil conflicts in the region when required, Issimail said.

Burundi has been plunged into unrest since April when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for, and later won, a third term in office.

Opponents say the re-election violates the constitution that limits presidents to a maximum of two terms.

Clashes between protesters and police have seen dozens killed with a coup attempt thwarted.

A senior army general and aide to the president, and a spokesman for an opposition party were killed in attacks after the election.

Burundi’s army chief of staff Prime Niyongabo last week survived an assassination attempt as assailants raided his convoy in the capital Bujumbura. Three soldiers guarding him were killed in the attack.

 

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