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Ex-Burundi leader gets key Mali role

26 October 2012, 11:00

Addis Ababa - Former Burundi president Pierre Buyoya was on Thursday named as the African Union's High Representative for Mali and the Sahel.

The two-time president will work with an AU mission soon to open in Bamako with the aim of helping the country out of a crisis that has seen a vast swathe of the north fall under the control of Islamists and rebel groups following a March coup, an AU statement said.

Buyoua was president of Burundi from 1987 to 1993 and 1996 to 2003.

The AU on Wednesday readmitted Mali after suspending it from the pan-African bloc following the coup.

Western governments are fearful that northern Mali could become a sanctuary for Islamic extremists.



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