Burundi: govt says 79 of the 87 killed in Friday’s attacks are assailants

Nyakabiga victims being retried Saturday morning

Nyakabiga victims being retried Saturday morning

The Burundian government has revealed nearly all the victims in Friday’s deadly attacks on multiple military installations in the capital Bujumbura are the gunmen who mounted the attacks.

It had been reported about 15 people perished in yesterday’s violent clashes between Burundi security forces and a group of armed men who attacked several military posts but piles of more bodies were discovered in opposition strongholds of Nyakabiga and Musaga Saturday morning.

According to a press statement issued by Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, the army spokesman, 79 assailants were killed and 45 were captured as 97 rifles of different types and ammunition were seized.

Baratuza said 4 police officers, 4 soldiers were killed as well whereas 21 police and soldiers were wounded.
Majority of the bodies were found Saturday morning on the streets of Musaga, Nyakabiga and Jabe, all the three areas were at the centre of the opposition protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid a few months ago.

Heavy gunfire was reported in these areas all day Friday, but according to Col. Baratuza, the attackers who raided Ngagara barracks retreated to Nyakabiga and Jabe, and the “army pursued them and inflicted heavy losses.”

Heavy gunfire could be heard across Bujumbura Friday. “There are heavy gunshots, we are lying under our beds, it’s terrible, we are afraid. We don’t know whether we will be safe,” said a resident of Nyakabiga told this website Friday afternoon.

“I see a lot of dead bodies near my residence, I can see some in the street, others are in a destroyed house, others in a ditch. I am afraid, I think I have to leave this capital,” said another resident of Nyakabiga II.
Residents of these opposition areas told Afrika Reporter the victims were found with arms tied behind their backs with gunshot wounds.

Some eyewitnesses say security forces carried out security swoop and dragged people from their homes and shot them. However, police spokesman, Pierre Nkurikiye told Reuters that all those killed had links to the attack.

The Friday’s attack is the first attack of such an extent since the May 13 foiled coup, and it has prompted quick condemnation from the UN Secretary General.

In a press statement issued subsequent to the attack, BanKi-moon condemned the attacks by groups of unidentified assailants on military camps in Bujumbura. “Such acts of violence can lead to a further destabilization of the situation in Burundi,” reads his statement.

He urged both leaders of the belligerent groups and the authorities in Bujumbura to refrain from any further escalation of violence or retaliation. Ban Ki-moon stressed “that anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held individually accountable.”

Recalling the relevance of an inclusive dialogue, the UN Secretary General urged “the authorities to help create the conditions for a credible and inclusive dialogue that can address the deep political challenges facing the country.”

The US government also expressed its concern and strongly condemned the attack, calling on all sides to refrain from violence.

In his Friday press briefing, John Kirby, US Department Spokesperson, appealed to the East African Community to “immediately convene high-level political dialogue between the government and opposition to defuse the situation.”

Kirby reiterated the US is ready to unveil additional sanctions against individuals responsible for — or complicit in — actions or policies that threaten Burundi’s peace, security, or stability.