Burundi marks 53rd independence anniversary as grenade explosions rage on

President Pierre Nkurunziza

President Pierre Nkurunziza

Today Burundians converged at Prince Rwagasore Stadium in the capital Bujumbura to celebrate 53 years of Independence from Belgium.

At the event President Pierre Nkurunziza has decorated 12 military and police officers who have spearheaded the fight against protestors since April 26.

Among the 12, include police and army officers who played a major role in repulsing the 2014 rebel attack in the North Western Province of Cibitoke.

Speaking to the crowd on the ongoing crisis in the country, President Nkurunziza reminded Burundians that the only way to get to power is through elections.

He urged “patriotic Burundians” to continue giving their financial contributions to the governments as it improvises to fund the elections.

Donors have withdrawn their support to the country’s electoral process, but the president revealed that so far the government has collected Fbu 3 billion Francs out of the Fbu 40 billion required to successfully fund the elections.

Meanwhile, independence celebrations coincided with yet another wave of grenade explosions and gunfire in Mutakura, one of the anti-third term neighborhoods in the capital Bujumbura.

Violence started when police besieged the neighborhood around 10 am local time in what they dubbed a “search operation”. A grenade was thrown at the police triggering a fierce confrontation with residents who resisted the police trying to penetrate the neighborhood. Two police officers were injured on the spot in the grenade explosion.

The fight went on until afternoon, tension was too high between Mutakura residents and police who were being aided by Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling party CNDD-FDD.

Vote counting still continues in Burundi but the president has already claimed his party won Monday’s communal and legislative polls.

Opposition boycotted the polls, and have since rejected the outcomes of the polls saying the polls were held in “unsuitable conditions”.

The African Union and international community did not observe the polls.

The United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) announced Tuesday nearly 10, 000 Burundians fled the country last weekend fearing electoral violence.

UNHCR estimates 144, 000 Burundians have fled the country since the current crisis began in April.

  • dsyliver

    That was typical unexpected surprise