Burundi rebel attack: 31 killed as army parades captured insurgents, weapons

Captured rebels on display

Captured rebels on display

Burundi Defense Force (FDN) has paraded a scores of captured combatants and  weapons seized from an armed group that over the weekend attacked Bukinanyana Commune in the north-Western province of Cibitoke and in Kabarore commune, Kayanza Province rebel

At a press conference held the Ndora Military barracks Kayanza, Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, Burundi Military Spokesman has revealed the army killed 31 attackers and captured 170 others.

Colonel Baratuza said six government soldiers sustained injuries, 1 civilian was killed and another one injured during fierce clashes with armed rebels whose origin has not been officially revealed.

The army spokesman displayed several military tools seized from the armed group, including 78 guns, two rocket propellers, one mortar, four engines and two Motorola.

Armed men attacked North-Western region the country Friday last week. In Kayanza, unidentified armed group clashed with the army in the commune of Kabarore near the border with Rwanda extending to Bukinanyana commune in Cibitoke.

Eye-witness residents in the area reported seeing an armed group from Rwanda estimated between 300-400 men in military uniform infiltrating into the country Friday morning.

The attack prompted heavy fighting between the group and the army in the two communes.

Colonel Baratuza said the fighting lasted for two days, Friday and Saturday, although sporadic gun shots could be heard during the exhibition conference Monday afternoon.

Elsewhere, police has seized several weapons in the North-Eastern province of Muyinga.

Seized weapons

Seized weapons

According to provincial leaders, 60 short machine guns, more than 60 empty magazines and over 3,500 rounds of ammunitions were seized Sunday by locals and security agents in Nonwe, Kijumbura and Masaka villages of Giteranyi commune. Aline Manirabaruta, the Muyinga Province Governor, said residents saw a man carrying suspicious luggage Sunday morning.

“As he tried to escape, they hunted him down and captured him with weapons,” she said.

More than 35 people have been arrested by police in the weapons seizure operation, all being militants of the opposition coalition “Hope for Burundians” led by Agathon Rwasa who pulled out of the electoral process a few weeks ago.

Mpabansi Jean-Baptiste, the Governor’s Counselor, openly accused members of Hope coalition of stocking on deadly weapons that are meant to harm the people.

“Weapons were seized in the hands of Hope militants while we know that they had vowed the elections cannot take place amidst violence, so this is for sure a testimony that they had planned to disturb them,” Mpabansi told this website.

Representatives of Hope Coalition in Muyinga deny all allegations, saying the whole operation is a ploy to arrest the coalition’s supporters.

In his visit to Muyinga area, Edouard Nduwimana, Burundi Minister for Home Affairs, thanked residents for their vigilance and cooperation and urged them to remain on guard, and to keep reporting bad elements to the authorities.

Burundi is still under the strains of unrest that erupted on April 26 following the governing CNDD-FDD’s decision to nominate President Nkurunziza for the controversial third term.

In bid to kick-start the on and off talks (between the government and the opposition and civil society) to end the turmoil, the new facilitator Yoweri Museveni, is due to arrive in Bujumbura Tuesday.

The talks have stalled due to the fact that UN appointed facilitators have been rejected by the opposition, and by the government. It remains to be seen whether or not Uganda’s Museveni will bring all parties to the table and get them talking substantively.

Some opposition voices have voiced concerns over Museveni’s appointment as the Ugandan leader has been in power for almost thirty years and the most contentious issue in the conflict in Burundi is President Nkurunziza’s third term bid.