Burundi will send an additional 50 police officers to join the African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan's Darfur region, the Central African country's president said Thursday. President Peter Nkurunziza said they would leave "very soon" to join 10 Burundian soldiers serving as military observers in Darfur. "This is a strong sign that the international community now has confidence in us and we have experiences to share," said Nkurunziza, himself a recently elected president and former rebel leader.
Some 7,000 African troops are in Darfur, where the Arab-dominated government of Sudan is accused of encouraging its troops and Arab militias to attack ethnic tribal groups in an ongoing conflict that has led to the deaths of more than 180,000 people, most from famine and disease.
A peace agreement has been negotiated to end 12 years of civil war in Burundi between Tutsis, who dominate the army, and rebels from the rival Hutu tribe, but fighting continues with one rebel group, reports the AP. N.U.