Rwanda won’t join AU force for Burundi

Rwanda will not contribute troops to a peacekeeping mission in neighbouring Burundi, President Paul Kagame said, as he rejected claims his country was arming refugees as rebels.

The 54-member African Union said Friday it would send a 5,000-strong force to halt violence that has sparked fears Burundi is sliding back towards civil war.

The AU has pledged to send troops despite Burundi’s opposition to what it terms an “invasion force”.

Burundi’s unrest erupted in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term, which he went on to win in July.

Relations between Rwanda and neighbouring Burundi are tense, with Bujumbura accusing Kigali of backing armed rebels and political opponents of President Nkurunziza.

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame has dismissed the allegations describing them as childish and says they should be substantiated.

“We have made it clear that even with the proposed contingents to be sent to Burundi, we will not be part of that,” President Kagame told reporters late Tuesday.

“But we can contribute in a different form,” he added, without giving details.