Implementing the latest agreement between the Burundian government and
the FNL remains a huge problem for peace mediators. The FNL-Palipehutu have
officially agreed to participate in the peace process and this means
demobilizing guerilla fighters in assembly areas. The assembly areas will be
monitored by outsiders, but the level of trust between the FNL's fighters and
the Burundian Army is very very low. Apparently Tanzania played a key role in
pressuring the FNL-Palipehutu to agree to drop its "illegal name" on December
4. The FNL wants some "follow-up" by Burundi's neighbors to guarantee security
during the demobilizing and reintegration process.
2008: The Rwandan government UN allegations it supports militias fighting in
eastern Congo. The report tied the Rwandan government to General Laurent
Nkunda's National Congress for the Defense of the People (CNDP).
2008: Some 94,000 Burundian refugees have returned home since January 2008.
This signals that a lot of people believe Burundi's peace deal is going to hold
up. However, the returnees create a lot of problems. Immediate shelter and food
for returnees is one problem. Providing farming implements and seeds is another
(most Burundians are farmers). There is also the issue of land ownership. Because
some of the refugees have "been in exile for years," squatters or neighbors
have been using the property. This problem occurs throughout the world. It
happened in Bosnia and it is happening in northern Uganda. The trick is to sort
it out using legal methods instead of starting a new war.
2008: The Rwandan government said that it had discussed conducting "joint
disarmament operations" against Interahamwe Hutu militias operating in the
Congo-Rwanda border region with the Congolese government. The Democratic Forces
for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) were specifically mentioned. The Rwandan
government has sought the elimination of the FDLR since 1994. The Hutu radicals
who formed the FDLR played key roles in the 1994 Tutsi genocide. What would a
"joint disarmament operation" look like? The Rwandan Army is superior to
Congo's forces. "Joint" could mean permission to attack the FDLR in Congolese
territory with Congolese observers watching the action. That would not be too
different from Uganda's deal with Sudan, which allowed the Ugandan Army to operate
against the Lords Resistance Army in southern Sudan.
2008: The Forces for National Liberation-Palipehutu (FNL)-Palipehutu) agreed to
change their "unconstitutional name" for a political party, ie Palipehutu. The
word is a contraction of the French
words for "Party for the Liberation of the Hutu People." According to the deal worked out with the
Burundian government, the FNL-Palipehutu's new name for their political party
can include the tribe name "Hutu." How this plays out of the next few months
remains to be seen. This "name game" has been a major stumbling block in peace