- Title: BURUNDI: Rebel delegation arrives in Bujumbura
- Date: 19th February 2007
- Summary: VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF THE FNL DELEGATION GREETING OTHER FNL MEMBERS
- Embargoed: 6th March 2007 12:00
- Location: Burundi
- Country: Burundi
- Topics: War / Fighting,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAAJH2L1MKMO45NFO35J9BMP4QP
- Story Text: Guerrillas belonging to Burundi's last rebel group arrived in Bujumbura on Sunday (February 18) to work alongside the government to monitor a ceasefire in the central African nation.
Hundreds gathered at Bujumbura airport to welcome the 16-strong delegation from the Hutu rebel Forces for National Liberation (FNL), which was greeted by singing and dancing by the crowd.
The rebels agreed a peace deal with the government in Tanzania in September but had refused to join a ceasefire monitoring team, instead demanding immunity for its members and insisting some of its fighters be freed from jail.
"We came here today to implement the agreements that have been made. We are saying to the Burundians that the FNL group is dreaming of peace for all Burundians, that all the conflicts between Hutus, Tutsis and Twas must stop and that Burundians should participate in the rebuilding and development of the country so that we can live like other countries," Rubin Tubirabe, head of the FNL delegation, said.
Tubirabe said FNL leader Agathon Rwasa was already in Burundi to implement the ceasefire agreement.
South African mediator Charles Nqakula, who brokered the peace deal, said the monitoring team, led by South Africa and which includes U.N. and African Union representatives, would begin its work on Monday.
"We are bringing these people here in Burundi because they want to participate in the rebuilding of their country," Nqakula told reporters.
Burundi's Interior Minister Major-General Evariste Ndayishimiye, representing the government, welcomed the arrival.
"I would like to inform the public that the task we are going to start is not an easy task because it is about planning peace and the future," he said.
The FNL is the last holdout from more than a decade of civil war that killed some 300,000 people. Their persistent insurgency was seen as a final barrier to lasting peace in a country of 7 million people who have suffered years of ethnic violence.
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