Violence Spreads Across Burundi Capital

article-img

Violence continued to spread across Burundi’s capital over the weekend with at least six people killed on Sunday night alone – and an orchestrated attack on the mayor’s home.

Conflict in Bujumbura has escalated to new heights after the country’s president set an ultimatum for opposition fighters to lay down arms. The government’s dialogue has added further fuel to an already intense civil conflict and sparked international fears of an ethnic struggle in the country.

 

Another series of attacks

“There have been several armed criminal attacks in many neighbourhoods of Bujumbura which were apparently co-ordinated,” a senior police confirmed in a statement.

One such attack targeted Bujumbura Mayor, Freddy Mbonimpa’s house.

“Around 10 assailants … shot and threw grenades at my house. We fortunately registered no death because my guard responded,” he told Reuters.

Elsewhere in the city, gunmen opened fire on a nightclub, killing three people. Another person was killed at a nearby bar and a further body was reported to have been found on the street, Monday morning. One police officer was also killed in a separate attack in the city.

 

Burundi at breaking point

Violence has been relentless in Burundi since President Nkurunziza announced in April he would run for a third term in power. Opposition groups have always insisted the move was unconstitutional and conflict soon broke out.

Nkurunziza won the controversial election regardless, but violence has only increased since he cemented his place in power. Memories of neighbouring Rwanda’s 1994 genocide remain fresh in Burundi and fears are growing that a similar catastrophe could be on its way.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to report back to the Security Council within the next week, regarding options to boost UN presence in Burundi.

 

Featured image:

Pierre Nkurunziza – World Economic Forum on Africa 2008 1” 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. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.