Jacob Zuma “rescued” from Burundi by defence force

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South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma was forced to fly back to his country in a military plane after his private jet developed a technical fault, a spokesperson said on Saturday.

Zuma was in Burundi alongside other African leaders sent by the African Union (AU) to spearhead calls for dialogue between the country’s government and opposition, in order to stop the violence that has rocked the nation since April last year.

“I can confirm that the president would be returning to South Africa on a military plane,” Xinhua reports South African National Defence (SANDF) spokesman Sphiwe Dlamini as saying.

According to Dhlamini, Zuma could not return home after he chaired a meeting with Burundi leaders because his aircraft developed a “technical problem” on Friday.

The delegation met with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, leaders of political parties and representatives from religious and civil societies.

Burundi descended into chaos in April 2015 after President Pierre Nkurunziza declared his bid for a controversial third term in office, going on to win the July poll.

400 people have been killed in the ensuing violence with thousands others fleeing to neighbouring countries.

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