Tanzania accused of supporting terrorism to destabilise Burundi

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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

The African news website www.abarundi.org has accused Tanzania of being a state sponsor of terrorism, by helping Hutu-extremists in neighbouring Burundi to destabilise the country's newly-elected government. As widely predicted, Burundi's ruling "Frodebu" party, which has close links to Tanzania, was heavily defeated in this week's elections. The former Hutu rebel group CNDD-FDD, now a multi-ethnic party, won a convincing victory with 58% of the vote. Frodebu polled just 22%.

It was the first national democratic vote since 1993, when a military coup plunged Burundi into a decade-long, ethnically-charged civil war. During the election campaign, CNDD-FDD accused Frodebu of stirring up racial divisions, and of employing members of the Hutu-extremist FNL to kill and intimidate voters. The FNL rebels have remained outside the Burundian peace process, despite the restoration of democracy, and a series of heavy defeats by the Burundian army. On June 16th attackers believed to be members of the FNL massacred six churchgoers in the Muhuta district of Rural Bujumbura. During earlier local elections, the FNL had attacked a polling station, killing a United Nations peacekeeper, and killed several people in "hit and run" attacks on the Burundian capital Bujumbura. Frodebu denied involvement in the violence, but have recently admitted "political collaboration" with the FNL.

www.abarundi.org reports that the Tanzanian government has offered material support to the FNL leader and helped formalise the "unholy alliance" between Frodebu and the FNL:

"With the assistance of the Tanzanians, [FNL leader] Agathon Rwasa has moved his HQ from the hills around Bujumbura, where he was already in difficulty, to the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam, where he can enjoy the protection of the Tanzanian secret service."

"Rwasa, who has nothing more to lose, has accepted that the success of the elections mean political death for the FNL, and their position as 'Hutu defenders' has become obsolete."

"But if Rwasa's strategy is merely his own survival, Frodebu's calculation is far more diabolical - they intend to perpetuate Burundi's bloody civil war and state of insecurity, in order to undermine the new institutions."