Kenyatta urges Burundi president to save country from war

Thursday November 19 2015

Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta. PHOTO | FILE

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday urged Burundian leader Pierre Nkurunziza to revive peace talks and prevent the east African nation from plunging into full-blown war.

Burundi has been mired in a political crisis since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in April he planned to run for a third term - a move opponents said violated the constitution and a peace treaty that ended a 12-year civil war in 2005.

Hundreds have been killed since April and 217,000 people have fled to neighbouring countries, kindling fears of a slide into ethnic conflict in a region where memories of the 1994 genocide in neighbouring Rwanda are still raw.

"The buck stops with President Nkurunziza. That is why we are encouraging him to involve all parties in the search for a solution to the conflict," Kenyatta said, according to a statement released by Kenya's presidency.

"Peace and stability in Burundi overrides all other issues. All parties must be brought on board to restore normalcy."

Kenyatta spoke after meeting with Zhong Jianhua, China's special representative on African affairs, in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.


Zhong said China has vast interests in the region and is increasingly becoming concerned about the conflict in Burundi, according to the Kenyan presidency statement.

Zhong also called for Nkurunziza to be more receptive to dialogue, adding that China and the international community were ready to offer help to resolve the conflict.

Medical organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said it treated 60 people on Monday after several grenade explosions were reported in flashpoint Bujumbura districts.