Burundi’s former President Pierre Buyoya has told the BBC that an arrest warrant issued for him is “a political maneuver to hide the difficulties” the current government is facing.

He and 16 other officials are accused of being behind the 1993 assassination of the country’s first elected Hutu president.

The killing of Melchior Ndadaye triggered a brutal ethnic civil war.

Mr Buyoya, an ethnic Tutsi who is the African Union’s special envoy to Mali, has told the BBC’s Alou Diawara in Bamako that the move was “probably also a nod to the people in relation to the elections coming in 2020, especially to the Hutu population”.

He said most of those on the list belonged to the Tutsi community “which means that this case is also perceived as an ethnic revenge”.

Quote Message: “It is a very dangerous step that will break the whole rope that still binds the Burundian people.”

The 69-year-old politician said his name had never come up in connection with the killing of Mr Ndadaye in various inquires and he did not fear being extradited.

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