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UN, Western powers discuss sending troops to Burundi

The UN and Western powers are discussing the possible deployment of troops to Burundi citing purported concerns that the violence there could spiral out of control.

At least 240 people have been killed in Burundi and tens of thousands have fled to neighboring states in violence that erupted when President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a controversial bid to extend his term in office back in April.

The United Nations (UN) has warned that Burundi could be facing imminent catastrophe but the country’s leaders have dismissed such concerns.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council is due to vote on a French-drafted resolution that would ask for several options to boost foreign military presence in Burundi.

Those options have reportedly been discussed by the UN, the US, Britain and France.

A UN peacekeeping spokesman said one of the options envisages “the use of MONUSCO assets and personnel” – the nearly 20,000-strong UN mission based in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The resolution calls on the Security Council to mobilize the regional UN force that has been in the DR Congo for years if the violence in Burundi spirals out of control.

Burundi ended a 12-year civil war between Hutu rebels and a Tutsi-led army in 2005. The ethnic divide is similar to that in neighboring Rwanda, which led to the 1994 genocide and the death of 800,000 people – mainly Tutsis and moderate Hutus – there.

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