Burundi Bans Motorbikes in Parts of the Capital

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Burundi has banned the use of motorbikes in parts of the capital, Bujumbura, in an attempt to curb violence in the city.

Motorcycle taxis are a common way for people to make their way around the busy city. However, they have been singled out as a means of transport criminals use to stage grenade attacks in central parts of the capital, prompting the government to impose the ban.

 

More grenade attacks in the Bujumbura

The ban comes after another grenade attack in the capital’s centre killed one person on Monday. Men on bikes reportedly threw three grenades in the heart of Bujumbura, while two other blasts outside the centre killed a child and injured 30 people.

Medics have said more than 60 people have needed treatment following the latest grenade attacks in the city – a matter of days after 55 needed treatment from previous attacks on February 11.

 

Government places ban on bikes

Bujumbura city mayor Freddy Mbonimpa said the ban on commercial bikes in the centre of the capital, followed police reports they are commonly used in attacks.

“Having seen that it is these motorcycle taxis that often carry the criminals who explode grenades in the city, we decided to ban them from the centre of Bujumbura,” the mayor said.

“Police found that criminals often carry grenades in bags or baskets,” he added.

Security has been stepped up in the capital’s centre with an increased presence of soldiers and police searching vehicles and people for explosives. Grenade attacks have been a common occurrence in Bujumbura since violence broke out in April last year. However, the last couple of weeks have seen an increase in attacks after a brief spell of relative calm for the conflict-ridden city.

The security crisis in Burundi has been a major talking point for the African Union (AU) and international authorities. Fears have been growing that the country sits on the verge of ethnic conflict. The AU voted last month against a proposal to deploy 5,000 peacekeeper troops in Burundi against the government’s will.

 

Featured image:

By KALOU KAKA – Kalou Kaka, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26575933