Burundi officers in Central Africa to be sent home: UN

Pierre Niyonzima, Jimmy Rusheshe and Jean Mushimantwari are due to be sent back to Burundi in the coming days.

Sunday February 14 2016

French soldiers on patrol in Bangui on December 6, 2013. The United Nations is sending three Burundian military observers serving in its scandal-tainted Central African Republic peacekeeping mission to their country to face charges of rights violations. PHOTO | AFP

French soldiers on patrol in Bangui on December 6, 2013. The United Nations is sending three Burundian military observers serving in its scandal-tainted Central African Republic peacekeeping mission to their country to face charges of rights violations. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
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BANGUI, Saturday

The United Nations is sending three Burundian military observers serving in its scandal-tainted Central African Republic peacekeeping mission to their country to face charges of rights violations

Pierre Niyonzima, Jimmy Rusheshe and Jean Mushimantwari are due to be sent back to Burundi in the coming days, according to a UN source in Bangui.

“We received information about these officers that linked them to human rights violations, so the decision was made to repatriate them,” Ismini Palla of the UN peacekeeping department said.

Authorities in Burundi have been informed of the move.

Everything was in place for the three to leave the country as quickly as possible, Minusca mission spokesman Vladimir Monteiro told AFP, adding that internal investigations had revealed that the men were not fit to serve in UN ranks. 

Relations between the UN and the Burundi government have been tense for some time.

TURMOIL

Burundi has been in turmoil since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans in April to run for a third term, which he went on to win in July.

More than 400 people have died in the violence and at least 230,000 have fled the country.

UN Security Council ambassadors travelled to Burundi last month to urge Nkurunziza to open up negotiations with the opposition and agree to an international presence.

The UN has already announced plans to send back peacekeepers from the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo after troops from those contingents in the same mission faced allegations of sexual abuse.

Minusca has been hit by a wave of allegations of sexual abuse of women, girls and boys by peacekeepers.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon fired the head of the 10,000-strong Minusca force last year, but the allegations have continued to surface.

An independent panel set up by Ban recently concluded that the UN had grossly mishandled the cases, prompting the world body to step up its screening of troops offered by countries for peace missions.

Ban has appointed American Jane Holl Lute, who has served in senior UN peacekeeping positions, as the special coordinator.

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