JOHANNESBURG – The South African National Defence (SANDF) came to the rescue of President Jacob Zuma who was stuck in Burundi after his private jet developed a technical fault, a spokesperson said on Saturday.
“I can confirm that the president would be returning to South Africa on a military plane,” SANDF spokesman Sphiwe Dlamini told Xinhua in a telephone interview.
According to Dhlamini, Zuma could not return home after he chaired a meeting with Burundi leaders because his aircraft developed a “technical problem” on Friday.
Zuma was leading a delegation of five heads of state, dispatched by the African Union (AU) to engage in consultations with Burundian leaders on finding a lasting solution to the crisis in the east African country.
The delegation met with Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza, leaders of political parties and representatives from religious and civil societies.
Turmoil broke out in Burundi after Nkurunziza attempted to seek a third term in April last year. He eventually won the election in July.
Following unrest and a brutal government crackdown, violent attacks have become routine, raising fears for a recurrence of a civil war fought between 1993 and 2006, in which about 300,000 people died.
Last December, the AU Peace and Security Council issued a resolution on the deployment into Burundi of 5,000 AU troops to restore peace in the country.
However, the Burundian government has vehemently opposed to the resolution.