At least 20 killed in Burundi

2015-12-12 11:52
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Bujumbura - In co-ordinated attacks, gunmen have stormed three military installations in Burundi and at least 20 people were killed as gunfire and explosions rocked the country in a simmering conflict.

The unidentified attackers wearing civilian clothing hit two military installations in the capital and one in the countryside. Terrified civilians in Bujumbura stayed in their homes as stray rounds hit some of them.

Military and police vehicles were the only ones on the deserted streets and roadblocks were set up.

Human rights

Burundian officials have previously accused neighboring Rwanda of supporting an insurgency against President Pierre Nkurunziza. There was no immediate comment from Rwanda.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks and warned they could lead to further destabilisation in Burundi.

"Anyone responsible for ordering or committing human rights violations will be held individually accountable," UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq said. The UN chief urged Burundi's government to create conditions for an inclusive dialogue "that can address the deep political challenges facing the country."

The UN Security Council also strongly condemned the latest attacks, and US ambassador Samantha Power said the council should look at "how the international community can protect civilians from mass violence, including for the possible deployment of a regionally led peace support operation."

Civil war

The fighting is apparently part of violence linked to Nkurunziza's third term, which many Burundians and foreign observers had opposed as unconstitutional and in violation of peace accords. The treaty ended a civil war in which 300 000 people were killed between 1993 and 2006.

At least 240 people have been killed since April and about 215 000 others have fled to neighboring countries, according to the UN. Several hundred people have also been imprisoned for opposing Nkurunziza's re-election this year.

Read more on:    burundi  |  east africa

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