Burundi: 87 People Killed as Violence Reaches New Heights

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At least 87 people have been killed in Burundi following rebel attacks on three army bases.

Scores of bodies were found in various districts of the nation’s capital on Saturday, after residents ventured out of their homes, once the gunfire – which started on Friday – finally stopped.

 

A response to army base attacks

Following the attacks on three army bases in Burundi, the nation’s army had said that 12 rebels were killed and 21 captured in the assault. However, army spokesman Colonel Gaspard Baratuza updated the figures on Saturday.

“The final toll of the attacks yesterday is 79 enemies killed, 45 captured and 97 weapons seized, and on our side eight soldiers and policemen were killed and 21 wounded,” he said in a statement.

The jump in fatalities came after security forces dragged suspects out of their homes and executed the majority of them in retaliation to the army base attacks, according to local residents.

 

Extrajudicial killings

Most of the bodies were first found by local residents in three districts of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura. Witnesses have said many bodies were found with hands tied behind their backs and bullet wounds in their heads. One resident describes the victims as kids and the killings as “execution style” with shots to the top of the skull. A 14-year-old boy was reportedly among the bodies found by residents on Saturday.

The death toll marks the worst outbreak of violence in Burundi since a failed coup attempt in May sparked widespread violence in the capital. Residents have condemned the killings, described by the army as “sweep operations,” while the police claimed there were no ‘collateral’ victims in the attack – meaning every death was intentional.

 

Burundi soldiers” by KALOU KAKA – Kalou Kaka. Licensed under GFDL via Commons.

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.