At least 15 people were killed when gunmen attacked an area in southern Burundi | AfriTV Online

It was unclear if the dead were security officers, civilians or attackers. For fear of consequences, witnesses asked not to be named. Fighting in Rumonge province's Bugarama district started on Sunday and continued through Monday as people were hiding...

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At least 15 people were killed when gunmen attacked an area in southern Burundi

Published by: O. Elijah
08/25/2020 09:42 AM

It was unclear if the dead were security officers, civilians or attackers. For fear of consequences, witnesses asked not to be named. Fighting in Rumonge province's Bugarama district started on Sunday and continued through Monday as people were hiding in the bush, a resident who had escaped the attack told Reuters.

 

"The gunmen abducted everyone they encountered and killed them before they were engaged on Sunday morning combat with the army," the eyewithness said He has requested for anonymity in order to prevent reprisals.

A senior government official said the attack was not unexpected and possibly related to the imminent repatriation of refugees from Rwanda, which occurred as the country holded local elections.

"The government expected the attempt by armed groups opposed to the government to carry out attacks ahead of the first repatriation of Rwandan refugees," the official said.

 

Rwanda is host to thousands of neighboring Burundi refugees who had fled unrest in 2015. A message posted on Twitter claiming to be from Red Tabara, a rebel group in Burundi that says it is based in the South Kivu region of Congo, claimed responsibility for the attack and said it had "neutralized" nine police officers and about twenty rebels. The account's veracity or message has not been checked.

The statement on Twitter said presidential elections in May, won by the ruling party’s candidate Evariste Ndayishimiye, were “a farce” and called for a new vote. The statement also called for the disarmament of several militia groups such as the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a group founded by Hutu officials who fled Rwanda after orchestrating the 1994 genocide, which it claims has infiltrated security forces in Burundi.

 

The army did not respond to requests for comment on the fighting. Burundi has an ethnic Hutu majority and Tutsi minority, the same split as in Rwanda. It has been plagued by decades of ethnic and political violence, including a bloody civil war which lasted 12 years in which 300,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed.

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