African Leaders Meet In Second Push For Peace In Burundi

Refugees from Burundi who fled the ongoing violence and political tension sail on a boat to reach MV Liemba, a ship freighted by the United Nations at the Kagunga landing base on the shores of Lake Tanganyika near Kigoma in Tanzania, in this May 26, 2015 handout photo by PLAN INTERNATIONAL. East African leaders will meet on Sunday to discuss the crisis in Burundi as violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters continue and the opposition has boycotted talks to resolve the stand-off. REUTERS/Sala Lewis/PLAN INTERNATIONAL/Handout via Reuters
Refugees from Burundi who fled the ongoing violence and political tension sail on a boat to reach MV Liemba, a ship freighted by the United Nations at the Kagunga landing base on the shores of Lake Tanganyika near Kigoma in Tanzania,

African leaders began talks in Tanzania on Sunday in their second summit in a month aimed at restoring peace in Burundi, which has been hit by violent protests over the president’s plan to run for a third term. Reuters reports:

President Pierre Nkurunziza, who faced a coup attempt while in Dar es Salaam for the first summit on May 13, did not attend the meeting. He was represented by the country’s foreign minister, Alain Aime Nyamitwe. The heads of state of Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya, which together with Burundi and Rwanda form the East African Community (EAC) common market, attended the summit. They were joined by South African President Jacob Zuma.

Burundi and Rwanda sent foreign ministry officials rather than heads of state, a Tanzanian foreign ministry official said. Tanzania’s foreign minister, Bernard Membe, told reporters regional leaders would seek a solution to the political turmoil in Burundi and discuss the plight of refugees fleeing violence in the east African country.

Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term unleashed Burundi’s worst political crisis since an ethnically-driven civil war ended in 2005. Many people fear the violence could lead to renewed ethnic bloodletting between the Hutu and Tutsi communities.