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Saturday, September 25, 1999 Published at 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK

World: Africa

Burundi President: 'No crisis'

The latest violence in southern Burundi claimed eight lives

The President of Burundi, Pierre Buyoya, has ended a brief visit to neighbouring Rwanda by insisting that there is no crisis in his country - despite the growing level of violence.

The BBC's Chris Simpson reports
Burundian rebels - alleged to have strong links with Rwandan militias - have stepped up their attacks in and around the capital Bujumbura in recent weeks.

Eight civilians were killed on Friday night during a rebel attack on the village of Munyika near Burundi's border with Tanzania.

Mr Buyoya said his government was engaged in a struggle against "acts of terorism".

[ image: President Buyoya: Trying for settlement with rebels]
President Buyoya: Trying for settlement with rebels
The main opposition group in Burundi, the National Council for the Defence of Democracy (CNDD), continues to reject government allegations that they are working with Rwandan militias.

A spokesman for the movement, Jerome Ndiho, told the BBC it had no relationship with the militias and was not involved in joint military attacks in the country.

Mr Ndiho also warned civilians that they risked being "legitimate targets" if they carried weapons to defend themselves against rebel attacks.

A seventh round of talks aimed at reaching a peace settlement in Burundi is due to take place in the Tanzanian town of Arusha in November.

But the talks may be jeopardised by the continuing ill-health of the talks chairman, former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere, who is in a London hospital suffering from leukaemia.

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