05 Jan 2016 - As 2016 begins there is still no sign of peace in Burundi. Positions are becoming entrenched, murders continue and the long-awaited dialogue between the government, opposition and civil society groups is faltering. Burundi's government will not take part in peace talks scheduled for Wednesday with the opposition, a senior official said, casting doubts on efforts to end months of violence. "No dialogue tomorrow neither on January 16 as many may think, because there has been no consensus on that date," Joseph Bangurambona, the permanent secretary in Burundi's foreign affairs ministry, told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday.
The talks scheduled to be held in neighbouring Tanzania were announced last month as part of regional efforts to resolve a crisis triggered in April 2015 by President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in office - a move opponents described as violating the constitution. Since then, clashes between police and protesters and a series of attacks in the capital, Bujumbura, have killed more than 400 people. However, most of the human rights violations remain undocumented. "The Burundian government has made it impossible for any investigators to get access to the country in the last five or six months," said Phil Clark, a conflict researcher from SOAS in London, in an interview with DW.
The exceptionally high number of refugees from Burundi suggests that the situation is much worse and prompts fears of a relapse into the decades of civil war that killed tens of thousands of people. Since January 2015, over 230,000 people from Burundi (about 2.1% of the total population) have fled to neighbouring countries (mainly Tanzania and Rwanda) with many others internally displaced.
Zambia is a copper-rich African country that just three years ago was the darling of international investors seeking to expand their mineral portfolios. Mining investment - encouraged by privatization of the copper mines in the late 1990s - and the copper price boom that started in late 2008 served to support the sustained economic growth the country had achieved since implementing measures in 2004 to support greater fiscal discipline. Leading multinational mining companies, including Barrick Gold Corp., First Quantum Minerals Ltd. and Glencore PLC, have become major investors in Zambia's mining industry. Zambia's fortunes have turned,...
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