Press Release on Burundi
Pretoria, 18 November 2009 - Former Minister of Defence, Mr. Charles Nqakula, Facilitator of the Burundi Peace Process, will present South Africa’s Final Report on the Burundi Peace Process to the leaders of the Regional Initiative, President Yoweri Museveni and President Jakaya Kikwete, at the Summit of the East African Community to be held in Arusha, Tanzania, on 20 November 2009.
The presentation of the Final Facilitation Report marks the successful end of nearly ten years involvement by South Africa in the Burundi Peace Process starting with former President Nelson Mandela and including President Jacob Zuma, who negotiated the first comprehensive ceasefire agreement among the warring Burundi movements.
South Africa’s role as Facilitator in the Burundi Process was mandated by the Regional Initiative and comes to an end on 31 December 2009.
As a result of South Africa’s engagement in Burundi, the Forces National de Liberation (FNL), the last armed rebel group in Burundi has returned home.
Over 21,000 FNL combatants have been disarmed, demobilised and reintegrated into Burundi society. They include more than 1,000 women combatants and over 500 child soldiers who have been reunited with their families. Another 4000 FNL combatants have been integrated into the Burundi security services.
The FNL has registered as a political party and is participating in the election scheduled for 2010.
Several hundred South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers, who were deployed in Burundi as part of the African Union Special Task Force (AU-STF), have returned to South Africa after conducting the Joint Verification Mechanism of the DDR process.
More than 100 SANDF soldiers remain in Burundi to provide close protection for Mr. Agathon Rwasa, Chairman of FNL, his deputy and the FNL national office. These remaining SANDF officers will also depart from Burundi on 31 December 2009.
For more information, please call Ambassador Dumisani S. Kumalo, Special Representative for the Great Lakes Region
Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag x152