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Ethiopia Sends First Soldiers to Burundi

The first group of Ethiopian soldiers, who are to be part of a 3500-strong African Union peacekeeping force, arrived in Burundi yesterday. Ethiopian Maj-Gen Abebaw Tadese, the force’s deputy commander, arrived in Bujumbura with 14 officers from the horn of Africa nation, including logistics and communications officers. “We are here to prepare and arrange everything for the coming troops,” said Abebaw. SA, which has 932 troops in Burundi, and Mozambique are the other countries contributing to the force. Mozambique has yet to send troops to the central African nation. SA deployed 232 troops last April, joining 700 others who had been in Burundi since November 2001 as part of a protection force providing security for Hutu politicians who returned to take part in a transitional government. The protection force is being integrated into the African Union’s peacekeeping force. Ethiopia is to contribute about 980 troops to the peacekeeping force, which is intended to help implement a cease-fire between Hutu rebels and the Tutsi-dominated army fighting a long civil war in Burundi. Full Story

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