Grenade explosions, gunfire rock Bujumbura, one person shot dead

Grenade explosions are occurring almost on a daily basis in Bujumbura

Grenade explosions are occurring almost on a daily basis in Bujumbura

One person was killed while several others were injured in the violence that occurred in the capital Bujumbura Tuesday night through Wednesday all day in the opposition strongholds of Jabe and Nyakabiga in Mukaza commune, and Musaga in the southern Muha commune.

Residents of Jabe, Nyakabiga and Musaga in the Burundian capital reported hearing heavy gunfire and grenade explosions all night Tuesday.

Violence continued Wednesday morning, and afternoon and the situation spiraled out of control in Musaga where unruly youths tried to block some key roads with barricades and torching tires.

Among the injured people include 9 police officers, two in Jabe, two others in Nyakabiga, while the remaining five sustained injuries in a grenade attack during a Wednesday morning search operation in the area.

According to police spokesperson, Pierre Nkurikiye, police exchanged fire with a gang of criminals who tried to destabilise Bujumbura

“Yesterday night, criminals attempted to destabilize security in some areas of the capital Bujumbura namely Jabe, Nyakabiga and Musaga. The police force repelled them and managed to shoot and kill one of them who died on the spot”, Nkurikiye told the press Wednesday.

The attack prompted a massive search operation aimed at “retrieving weapons from the wrong hands.” All day Wednesday the three neighbourhoods were besieged by the heavily armed police and traffic, and any kind of movement was prohibited.

During the operation, Mr. Nkurikiye revealed the police had apprehended 15 suspects in the grenade attacks in Jabe and Nyakabiga.

“They were arrested in the houses from where the grenades were launched. They are currently under interrogation,” he said.

Insecurity remains rampant in Burundi especially in the capital Bujumbura where gunshots and grenade explosions are heard almost on the daily basis.

The police has been seizing a good amount of ammunition, weapons, and military uniforms among other things in their occasional crackdowns but Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye recognises that there is still a long way to go to disarm the population and the militias and he warned the gunfire will not be stopping soon.

“This is to mean that even though we seize weapons, there are still many in the wrong hands. So, such operations will never stop until all illegal arms are withdrawn. Once we manage to withdraw them all, you’ll no longer hear a gunshot,” he said.

This latest flare up of violence comes two weeks after President Pierre Nkurunziza vowed in his inaugural speech on August 20 to neutralize all criminal groups especially in the capital Bujumbura within a two-month period

The minister for security Alain Guillaume Bunyoni has also reiterated the police’s commitment to take up the challenge of disarming the militias.

Throughout the course of the conflict, opposition, regional leaders and the international community have called on the government in Bujumbura to disarm Imbonerakure militia.

The armed youth wing of the ruling party CNDD-FDD has been accused of torturing, harassing and killing protestors against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid.