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Africa
Burundi opposition leader in hiding
Agathon Rwasa, a former rebel leader, said he had been threatened by the government.
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2010 14:43 GMT
Rwasa said that he has gone into hiding because the Burundi government intended to arrest him [AFP]

Agathon Rwasa, the leader of Burundi's main opposition party, has said he has gone into hiding after learning that the government wanted to arrest him on charges that he planned to mount a new insurgency.

In a tape recording sent to media agencies on Wednesday, Rwasa, a former rebel leader, said that he had also been threatened for rejecting the results of last month's district elections.

"They're looking for me because I told the truth, because I said publicly that I don't accept the results of the local elections," Rwasa said.

"[Last] Wednesday they wanted to arrest me again. I got wind of it and I disappeared from circulation," he said, without saying where he was speaking from.

When Rwasa initially disappeared his party said that he had gone away on holiday. He is thought to be in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The Forces for the National Liberation (FNL), a former rebel group, was the ruling party's main competition until it pulled out of this weeks election, leaving Pierre Nkurunziza, the incumbent president, as the only presidential candidate.

Poll violence

The presidential election was held against the backdrop of daily grenade blasts that threatened to push the country back into civil strife, with at least ten people killed and more than 60 wounded.

A spate of grenade attacks marred the elections and killed at least 10 people

The FNL has been accused of carrying out the grenade attacks, and police last week searched Rwasa's home.

"I got a lot of threats telling me if I do not accept the victory of the ruling party ... I will be arrested like former DRC deputy president Jean Pierre Bemba," Rwasa said in his statement.

"The government plans to jail me, pretending to have proof that I have distributed weapons with the aim of destabilising security in the capital Bujumbura. All this is nonsense."

Burundi's attorney general has said that there is no warrant for Rwasa's arrest.

The country has enjoyed relative peace since the FNL, the last group of Hutu fighters operating in the country since the Burundi civil war, agreed last year to lay down weapons and join the government.

Results of Monday's presidential vote are due to be released later on Wednesday.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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