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New Burundi Government More Inclusive

Burundi’s new president has named a government that includes both minority Tutsis and majority Hutus as he moves to solidify power seized in a coup, but the main Hutu party quickly condemned it.

The 25-member government was announced Friday night, eight days after the Tutsi-dominated army overthrew President Sylvestre Ntibantunganya, a Hutu.

Pierre Buyoya, a retired Tutsi army major, seized control, saying the coup was necessary to curb the bloody clashes between the army and Hutu rebels that have claimed at least 150,000 lives in the past three years.

The new regime includes five members from the old government, including Defense Minister Firmin Sinzoyiheba, a Tutsi who is believed to have been one of the coup masterminds.

The majority Hutu party Ntibantunganya headed, FRODEBU, will not cooperate with the new government, party spokesman Emmanuel Mpfayokurera said.

“Those who cooperate do so out of their own self interest,” he said.

The United States has said it will not accept any government in Burundi that comes to power by force, and regional leaders have threatened economic sanctions if constitutional government is not restored.

Meanwhile, the Burundian army chief of staff, Col. Jean Bikomagu, and two other Burundian envoys met with Zairian President Mobutu Sese Seku shortly after the coup, a Portuguese newspaper reported.