Six killed in Burundi violence

Residents of Mutakura surrounding the three  male dead bodies Wednesday December 2.

Residents of Mutakura surrounding the three male dead bodies Wednesday December 2.

At least six people have been confirmed dead as a result of violent clashes and attacks in Burundi Tuesday night, officials say.

In the opposition stronghold of Mutakura, in Bujumbura, residents woke up to a devastating scene Wednesday morning discovering three male dead bodies in the area.

“How comes that the country leaders sing peace while people are being savagely killed like this? There is no peace. Our husbands, our children are being slaughtered like goats, where is peace in Burundi?” lamented a woman crying over her slain husband and whose body was among the three corpses.

Area residents say the victims might have been killed elsewhere and their bodies dumped in Mutakura because the neighbourhood was calm and peaceful Tuesday night.

Another dead body of an education officer at the Kamenge Technical School (ETS Kamenge) was found in Cibitoke. The circumstances of his death remain unknown.

Violence was also reported in Nyakabiga: according to the police, a gang of criminals threw a grenade to a police patrol, killing one police officer and injuring three others. In neighbouring Jabe, a dead body was found on the street, still residents said the victim was killed somewhere else.

Also there was reported incidents in the district of Gatumba, 15 km from the capital Bujumbura towards the Burundi-DRC border. Eye-witnesses told Afrika Reporter an armed man entered an upscale nightclub and randomly threw a grenade at a group of people.

“There were people having their drink. After, we heard a grenade explosion. One person died on the spot while four people were wounded,” one witness said.

Although Bujumbura residents have been enjoying relative calm the past few days, overnight attacks on public places like pubs continue to be reported here and there inside and outside the capital.

On Sunday, the husband of the First Vice-President of the Senate was injured in an armed raid on pub located in Kinindo, Central Bujumbura in which army officer was killed.

Another grenade attack on a bar in Mugongomanga district, about 40 kilometers from Bujumbura injured three people Tuesday night.

All these deadly incidents come at a time when the Burundian government has announced it has made significant progress in withdrawing illegal weapons from the public.

“It’s obvious that there are still weapons owned by civilians. It even appears they are increasing in number because it’s almost impossible to spend a night without a grenade explosion or a person gunned down,” Celestin Ruribikiye, a representative of a local human rights group, ITEKA said. Ruribikiye appeals to the authorities to beef up security around soft targets like nightclubs, markets and churches.

The government maintains 99% of the country is peaceful saying the “minor and isolated” incidents should not impact the lives of citizens.

Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, revealed Tuesday the United Nations Security Council was considering dispatching a team to the East African nation to assess the situation on the ground.

The conflict in Burundi has claimed nearly 300 lives and has forced about 200,000 out of the country. Thousands are languishing in refugee camps in Rwanda, Tanzania, DRC and Uganda.

Recent upsurge in violence has caused many to call for the military intervention in Burundi led by the African Union and the United Nations.