Rwanda: April 16, 2003

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A South African Foreign Affairs Deputy Director said that some African countries had asked them to intervene in other conflicts on the continent, such as in Sudan and the Ivory Coast. Unfortunately, after years of budget cuts by the Mbeki government, the South African military has neither the muscle nor ability to project themselves into Peacekeeping situations.

They already had problems deploying a 751-man composite battalion to Burundi, as part of a United Nations-endorsed VIP protection operation in support of the transitional government and now there are plans to put 1,200 South Africans into Burundi. These troops would be tasked with enforcing a series of ceasefire agreements and political settlements, at a time where the ceasefire between the government and rebels looks like it will fail. More than 6,000 people have fled their homes in central Burundi since fighting broke out between Hutu rebels and government troops in the second week of April. - Adam Geibel

 

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