Top Burundi leaders reject African Union force

Nairobi (AFP) - Burundi's government on Tuesday rejected a proposed African Union peacekeeping mission already dubbed an "invasion force" by parliament.

Lawmakers on Monday rejected the planned AU force proposed last week amid growing international alarm over spiralling violence in the tiny central African nation.

On Tuesday, the National Security Council (NSC) -- including the president, ministers and security force chiefs -- rejected the plan.

"The threat of genocide justifying this deployment is only a plot of government critics," the NSC statement said, read out by Minister of Public Security Alain-Guillaume Bunyoni.

The new AU force, dubbed MAPROBU -- the French acronym for the African Prevention and Protection Mission in Burundi -- would have an initial renewable mandate of six months.

The 54-member AU said Friday it would send a 5,000-strong force to halt violence that has sparked fears Burundi is sliding back towards civil war.

It has said it would send troops even if the government refused to accept it.

Burundi descended into bloodshed in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his intention to run for a controversial third term, which he went on to win in July.

Hundreds of people have been killed in months of street protests, which have devolved into regular armed attacks with gunfire disrupting the nights and dead bodies appearing on city streets almost every day.

On Tuesday, Amnesty International warned of a "deepening human rights crisis" in a report detailing how security forces carried out executions by shooting people in the head after street battles in the capital earlier this month.