Burundi rejects deployment of UN police force as ‘violation of sovereignty’

Burundi Parade President

Burundi Parade President

Burundi’s government has rejected the deployment of 228 UN police to the troubled African nation, saying a French-led UN resolution authorising the force was made without its consent.

The UN Security Council on Friday agreed to deploy the force in its strongest move to date to try to end more than a year of violence.

“The government of Burundi rejects every aspect of this resolution linked to the deployment of any force on its territory,” spokesman Philippe Nzobonariba said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The UN resolution was “in violation of the fundamental principles required of the UN family and above all violating its sovereignty,” he added.

The council adopted the resolution on dispatching the police to the capital Bujumbura, and throughout Burundi, for an initial period of a year.

The planned deployment has sparked fury from the authorities who, after initially saying they would accept no more than 50 officers, have now rejected having even that many.

Nzobonariba said any UN resolution must be approved by the country it affected, which was “unfortunately not the case”.

The UN should reconsider the move as Burundi’s own security forces were “in perfect control of the situation” throughout the country, he added.

The rebuttal had been expected after thousands of people marched through the streets of Bujumbura on Saturday to protest against the measure in a rally organised by the authorities.

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

More than 500 people have since died, many of them in extrajudicial killings blamed on Burundian police, security forces and militias linked to the ruling party, according to the United Nations.

At least 270,000 people have fled the country.