Arusha, Tanzania - Former South African president Nelson Mandela failed on Monday to convince Burundi's president to accept African peacekeepers to guarantee stability during a transition period meant to end seven-years of civil war in the central African country.
Mandela met with Burundian President Pierre Buyoya till midnight on Sunday and again on Monday to obtain approval for peacekeepers from Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, Mozambique, Botswana and Malawi, Mark Bomani, head of Mandela's mediation team said.
Buyoya, who was hastily summoned to Tanzania by Mandela to discuss the issue, said he must first consult with government colleagues, a senior aide to Mandela said.
"Peacekeepers are crucial to create stability in Burundi and Mandela had previously brought up the idea with Buyoya, but this is the first time the two held extensive discussions on the matter," Bomani said.
The civil war began in October 1993, when Tutsi paratroopers assassinated Melchior Ndadaye, Burundi's first democratically elected president and a Hutu, triggering the Hutu rebellion. More than 200 000 people have been killed, mostly civilians caught in the cross fire. Hundreds of thousands others have been displaced.