Bujumbura Independence Day violence claims Five

Burundians barricading themselves against the police/Photo by Bernard Bankukira

Burundians barricading themselves against the police/Photo by Bernard Bankukira

Five people including a police officer have been killed in a fierce and lengthy fight between the police and residents Mutakura, neighborhood, north of the capital Bujumbura.

Mutakura is one of the areas that is inhabited by residents that are against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term.

The confrontation started early Wednesday morning, when police launched a search operation in this area to disarm armed civilians. A grenade was thrown at a police truck, killing one officer and injuring others.

Pierre Nkurikiye, the Spokesperson of Burundi Police told the press that four people were shot dead in a subsequent operation aiming at disrupting what he called a “rebel gang” which attacked the police, injuring more than ten others.

He also says more 25 youths have been arrested during the operation.

Pierre Nkurikiye said several weapons were confiscated, including three hand grenades, three guns, three bomb launchers, and about 157 bullets.

At the moment gunfire is still raging into the evening, it remains difficult to ascertain exactly what is happening in Mutakura, as no journalists or Red Cross workers are allowed to go there.

Grenade attacks have become routine in Bujumbura and other parts of the country, especially in Mutakura and Cibitoke, both areas known to be anti-Nkurunziza government and third term bid.

The Burundian Police has been targeting these areas to “withdraw weapons from the wrong hands” but residents in these areas have been standing up to the police.

In some cases residents have put up barricades to deter the police from coming into their homes.