Burundi: One person killed, 32 injured in Bujumbura grenade attacks

Bujumbura police on alert after the first explosion

Bujumbura police on alert after the first explosion

One person was killed and 32 others, most of them women and children, were injured in a series of grenade explosions that rocked Burundi’s capital Bujumbura Monday morning.

The first blast was heard around 8 o’clock near a petrol station in the city centre near the country’s Independence Square. According to an eye-witness, a man in a taxi threw a grenade which exploded, injuring six people instantly.

Shortly after, several explosions in what seemed to be coordinated attacks were reported in different areas across Bujumbura, injuring more people, as an 11 year-old boy lost his life in a blast Bujumbura City Market. Several cars were also damaged. In total, six grenades detonated within an hour.

According to Burundi Security Minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, the incidents had the hallmarks of terror attacks. He vowed to hunt down perpetrators and bring them to justice.

“These are terrorist acts that we must fight. Burundi has decided to fight terrorism in Africa and in the world and we will spare no effort to combat terrorism in Bujumbura,” Mr. Bunyoni told journalists after touring the scenes of the blasts.

He called on residents of Bujumbura to work hand in hand with security forces to foil other attacks and unveil the perpetrators. He maintained that all measures have been taken to prevent similar attacks.

The minister revealed the police had seized some evidence that will help in the investigation of the incidents.
Following the attacks, security was beefed up as heavily armed police officers patrolled the streets dispersing crowds and restricting traffic.

The developments coincided with the European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels in which the EU was expected to tighten economic sanctions against the Central African nation.

Meanwhile, one person was killed and three others injured in a gunfire that broke out Sunday night in the Northern Province of Kirundo. According to witnesses, the victims were heading home from a pub, when an armed man shot at them.

Burundi has been embroiled in a political crisis since April last year when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced his controversial third term bid igniting popular protests in the capital.

The turmoil has thus far claimed about 500 lives and over 250, 000 have fled to neighbouring countries.