Burundi Crisis: 7 More Killed in Country’s Violent Capital
The body count in Burundi’s capital city continues to rise as violence in the nation shows no sign of abating.
Witnesses revealed seven moe people were killed in Bujumbura on Wednesday, including five bodies which were found dumped along a roadside in Cibitoke. Armed men wearing police uniforms dragged the five victims out of their houses, according to local residents, before they shot them dead.
The price of opposition
One witness told the Associated Press of her relationship with one of the victims and her experience with the armed police:
“That one works for a company which processes soap,” she said. “He had just returned home from the night shift when they came for him. They beat him as they pulled him out of the house,” she added.
“I asked why they were beating him and they started to beat me.”
A rights activist has also claimed some of the five who were killed had recently been released from prison, after being detained for protesting against the president’s third term in office. She said the killings were a planned attack by the police, following the release of roughly 100 people on Tuesday, who had been arrested for protesting President Nkurunziza’s third term.
Police defend their actions
Contrary to witness reports, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said officers were responding to grenade attacks when they killed the five civilians.
“The criminals threw three grenades at the police and our cops responded and killed five of them,” he said, according to Reuters.
It’s not clear when the victims were supposed to have launched the grenade attacks against officers, but the nature of the police’s house-to-house raid reinforces claims that their attack was premeditated and decisively fatal.
“When (the police) arrived at the gates of those people killed, they forced the door open, took them out and beat them seriously before they ruthlessly shot them with many bullets,” another resident was quoted as saying.
Two other deaths were also reported in the country’s capital on Wednesday: one in Bwiza on Tuesday night, by people in police uniforms, and another on Wednesday afternoon in the Jabe neighbourhood.