Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has asked warring parties in Burundi to end the violence in the country that has seen more than 300 killed since April.
President Museveni also said he would personally investigate alleged extrajudicial killings.
“Africans must stop being clowns. These extrajudicial killings must stop. I will send a team privately as a mediator to investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings [in Burundi],” he said.
President Museveni said Monday while opening the Burundi peace talks at State House Entebbe, Uganda.
He said he was reluctant to mediate the Burundi crisis after being disappointed with earlier role in the DR Congo crisis.
“I didn’t want to mediate because I had been annoyed with the handling of DR Congo where the parties involved went and did things contrary to what we had agreed upon and now the crisis there has persisted. But then I said if God has given me health, why not help people there. I had wanted to see these negotiations concluded before the election. Unfortunately, the election took place before the negotiations were over,” he said.
In 2013, as chair of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, President Museveni mediated the North Kivu conflict between the Kinshasa government and the M23 rebels which, despite long running peace talks, took a SADC-leaning international force comprising troops from South Africa, Tanzania and Malawi to intervene to end the conflict.
However, President Museveni emphasised that Uganda would not interfere with the sovereignty of Burundi.
“There is a problem in Burundi but due to sovereignty, we can't go in. One million people died in Rwanda due to the same issue. Our entry point is that we don’t want to interfere with the internal affairs of Burundi. During Idi Amin’s reign, Ugandans were dying but Kenya could not come in because of its sovereignty. But East Africa will not tolerate violence of this nature,” he added.
A third term
The talks are the first step towards ending tension in Burundi after months of political unrest in the capital Bujumbura with the worst killings three weeks ago that left nearly 90 people dead.
At least 240 have been killed since Burundi’s crisis began in April with more than 200,000 people having fled the country.
The violence was sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial decision to run for a third term in office.