Rwanda: November 26, 2004


The Burundian government said that several Burundian Hutu rebel groups had moved from the Congo into Burundi. The government specifically mentioned the Forces for National Liberation (FNL). The FNL rejected the November 2003 peace deal. The accusation followed reports of fighting near Bujumbura. Western sources said the Burundian Army killed 17 Hutu rebels in two firefights. One occurred east of Bujumbura in the Benga hills. The second was south of Bujumbura near Kanyosha. It is unclear why Hutu rebel groups in the Congo have chose this time to launch a new offensive into Burundi. Given reports of Hutu rebel operations near the Rwandan border, it's possible that the rebel groups are trying to coordinate an offensive against both Burundi and Rwanda. However, both the Burundian Army and the Rwandan Army are far stronger than the rebel groups. There are rumblings among some Hutu groups that accepted the November 2003 peace deal that the peace process is not moving fast enough. The FNL's attacks may be designed to slowdown the peace process even more. Scaring Burundian Tutsis makes them even more reluctant to trust the peace process. Slowing down the peace process increases Hutu disaffection. The FNL can then present itself as the only "armed Hutu alternative" to the failed peace process. 


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