Burundi: 26 killed by ‘terrorist group’ ahead of referendum

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Twenty-six people have been killed and a further seven injured in Burundi’s rural northwestern province of Cibitoke, during an attack carried out by a “terrorist group”, according to the country’s security minister.

The attack was carried out on Friday, days before Burundi takes to the polls to vote on constitutional changes that could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to extend his rule. Minister of Public Security Alain Guillaume Bunyoni spoke to reporters at the scene of the attack in the Ruhagarika community of Cibitoke without identifying the group allegedly responsible.

26 killed in Cibitoke province

According to one survivor, who spoke to The Associated Press, the attackers arrived at 10 pm local time, attacking home and setting properties on fire. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the survivor told reporters that her husband and two children were killed in the attack.

Twenty-four people were killed in their homes during the attack on Friday night and at least two others have died from their wounds in hospital since. Some of the victims were hacked with machetes while others were shot or burned alive.

Burundi set for referendum

On May 17, Burundi will hold a referendum to vote on constitutional changes that could allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to rule for another 14 years. Rights groups have accused the government of running a campaign of fear ahead of the controversial vote.

Earlier this month, the US condemned the “violence, intimidation, and harassment” against those believed to oppose the referendum and criticised the “non-transparent process” of amending the constitution.

Featured image: By Copyright World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org)/Eric Miller, mailto:emiller@iafrica.com emiller@iafrica.com) – Pierre Nkurunziza – World Economic Forum on Africa 2008, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5685472

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.