Tanzania tells Burundi rebels to join monitor team

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BUJUMBURA, Oct 6 (Reuters) Tanzania said exiled leaders of a Burundi rebel group may have to leave unless they agree to return to a joint ceasefire monitoring team.

The Forces for National Liberation (FNL) rebels quit a ceasefire monitoring team in July, sparking fears of renewed violence in the tiny central African country.

The team comprises representatives from the FNL, Burundi's government and South African mediators.

''Tanzania has no intention to kick out FNL leaders, but we don't see any reason for them to stay there if they don't want to rejoin the ceasefire monitoring team'', Tanzanian mediator Bernard Francis Mdolwa said late Yesterday in Burundi's capital.

Burundi's cycle of ethnic violence pitting Hutu rebels against the Tutsi elite began in 1993, killing an estimated 300,000 people.

After a broadly successful peace process, the Hutu FNL is the last remaining insurgency group.

''FNL have no alternative than coming back to the joint verification and monitoring mechanism, there is no problem that will be resolved outside that team'', South African chief mediator Charles Nqakula told a joint news conference.

The FNL has accused Nqakula of being biased and called for his replacement. Nqakula said he would leave only after his mandate from the African Union (AU) ends on December 31.

The FNL insurgency is regarded as the final barrier for lasting stability in the coffee-growing nation of 8 million.


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