By Ann Garrison
Global Research, November 27, 2015
In “Burundi’s dangerous neighbor,” a letter to the Washington Post, former UN official Jeff Drumtra argues that the Rwandan government’s conscription of Burundian refugees to fight in a new, so-called “rebel force” is a grave danger that the international community should recognize before it’s too late.
Drumtra returned several weeks ago, from five months work in Rwanda’s Mahama Refugee Camp for Burundian refugees near the Rwandan Burundian border. I spoke to him on 11.14.2015. He stressed that his employment contract with the UN had been completed several weeks before and that he was not speaking in any official capacity. ...
AG: And why is it significant that the UN and the US government are aware of this [some kind of military recruitment ... happening in Mahama Refugee Camp].
JD: Well, it’s significant that governments are aware of this because, if they are aware of it, then they can exert pressure. They can exert diplomatic pressure either behind the scenes, quietly, on the Rwandan government to cease this activity, or if that doesn’t work, they can go more public.
My impression is that, up to this point in time, the pressure that they have exerted has been more behind the scenes. Constructive diplomacy, if you will. And it has not stopped the recruitment. At times perhaps it slowed down the recruitment but it most certainly has not brought the military recruitment to a stop. And, ultimately, some of the governments, including the US government could always take a stronger position, going beyond just quiet diplomacy or even public diplomacy but getting to the point of considering sanctions against the Rwandan government. ...