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Defence minister goes in Burundi reshuffle

BBS News, Wednesday 12 January 2000, 14:43 GMT

The Burundian President, Pierre Buyoya, has replaced his defence minister as part of a major cabinet reshuffle.

The minister, Colonel Alfred Mkurunziza, is replaced by a military adviser to the president, Cyrille Ndayirukiye.

More than fifteen other ministers were involved in the reshuffle.

An official statement said the move was to deal with what it called the difficult period Burundi has been going through. It added that priorities now were to improve security and the economy, and conclude the peace process.

Yesterday, the government defended a decision to raise taxes saying it had no choice after six years of war and a regional economic embargo lasting thirty months.

The unions have threatened to call an indefinite strike unless the rises -- which affect most basic goods -- are withdrawn.