Hopes that Rwanda might intervene in Burundi have been crashed, indefinitely.
For days now, Rwanda has been under pressure to intervene in the ongoing crisis in neghbouring Burundi.
Burundian refugees, almost 80,000, same as many Rwandans, have been pressing President Paul Kagame to personally step in, some suggesting a military intervention.
But President Kagame made it clear on Tuesday evening that he will not send his soldiers in Burundi. He said Burundi’s issue is “Political” and needs a “political intervention”, not military.
As the African Union continues to engage Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza to accept 5000 continental intervention troops, Kagame said Rwanda was not part of the process and will keep its hands off despite the complex relationship between the two countries.
Rwanda is now home to over 50% of all Burundian refugees, receiving almost 300 per day.
Kagame said that the issue in Burundi has gone beyond being just “Rwanda’s concern”, but now an international problem.
Besides, he added, “It’s not Rwanda’s Responsibility to address these problems whenever they take place.”Rwanda can contribute. Rwanda is not UN. Burundi issue is now global concern.”
President Kagame made the statements while addressing a press conference in Kigali which was attended by local and international journalists.
He had the opportunity to respond for the first time to allegations that Rwanda has been sucked into Burundi’s crisis.
Reports allege that Rwanda is supporting those fighting Nkurunziza’s regime.
Kagame had responded to this. He said, “Rwanda has never suggested to Burundi how to deal with their problem, despite having them “arresting and torturing Rwandans.”
He described the allegations that Rwanda is recruiting Burundian refugees to fight back home as “childish”.
“It has had a political motivation. They talk about child soldiers; I have never seen any evidence of that, they talk about Rwanda giving them guns, I have never seen any evidence to prove that,” said President Kagame.
“It has a lot of politicking as if that really provides any solution.” Burundians tried to indicate that they did not have any problem, while Rwanda and the region is receiving many refugees running from the country.
“There are tens of Burundian refugees here, including government officials,” he said adding “The fact that you have a problem and you don’t see it, maybe that’s the main problem.”
Same as Foreign Affairs Minister Louise Mushikiwabo said weeks ago, President Kagame that Burundi’s leadership must stop blaming their problems on others, but address what “Burundians find their situation worsening.”
President Kagame believes the AU military intervention does not solve the problem and Rwanda has thus not been part of the proposed action.
“Rwanda will not be part of that,” he said. Rwanda has deployed in many parts of the world, “but we will not be part of that…we have no extra capacity to pass around to people who do not even want it.”
Suggestions that Burundi could be a weak link through which Rwandan rebels, FDLR based in DRC, to attack Rwanda, Kagame said that is not going to happen. “Rwanda has guarded its boarders,” he said.