Burundi rebel chief behind deadly attack

2011-10-06 20:42

Nairobi - The leader of Burundi's National Liberation Forces, Agathon Rwasa, planned the attack last month on a bar that killed 39 people, a document from the intelligence services alleged on Thursday.

The document appeals to the countries in the region to help ensure Rwasa is "arrested and tried before national or international courts," saying he is in hiding in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo where is he protected by Rwandan rebels and local Congolese militia.

"The preliminary inquiry proves amply that the Gatumba massacre was planned by Agathon Rwasa and carried out by a terrorist group under the command of Bariyanka Antoine alias Shuti," the document, signed by the head of the intelligence services General Adolphe Nshimirimana, said.

Seventeen assailants in all carried out the September 19 attack on the Chez les Amis bar in Gatumba, west of the capital Bujumbura, the document said.

A dozen of the attackers came from the Kiliba area in eastern DRC and the remaining were recruited locally in Gatumba.

A senior intelligence officer who asked not to be named confirmed the document was authentic and condemned an "unpardonable" leak in political circles.

"Nine assailants have been arrested by the Burundi security services and some of them admit to having carried out a plan drawn up by Agathon Rwasa and his henchmen," the report went on.

The Gatumba massacre comes against the backdrop of a series of attacks dismissed up until now by the authorities as the work of "armed bandits".

Burundi is still struggling to recover from more than a decade of civil war that left 300 000 dead.