Gunfire, explosions rock Bujumbura

2015-12-11 10:55
File: AFP

File: AFP

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Bujumbura - Dozens of people were killed in coordinated assaults on two army barracks in the Burundi capital Bujumbura early Friday, according to witnesses and a military source.

Fighting began at around 04:00 when "heavily armed men" attacked a base at Ngagara in the north of the city and a military training college in the south, according to a senior military officer, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

"After more than two hours of clashes, the army repulsed the southern attack, while virtually all the attackers were killed in Ngagara base," the officer said.

"There are dozens of deaths among the attackers, and we also have losses", he said, adding the situation would soon be brought "completely" under control.

The attacks on the army base in Ngagara and the ISCAM Higher Institute of Military Training in Musaga were confirmed by 10 witnesses contacted by telephone. All spoke of heavy firing, including the sounds of artillery, lasting several hours.

The fighting is the heaviest since a failed coup in May, sparked by President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term which he later won in disputed elections in July.

"I am holed up in the corridor of my house with my wife and children," said Eric, a resident of Musaga. "Pray for us because we will die!"

A government spokesperson confirmed the attacks on Twitter, referring to the gunmen as "Sindumuja", meaning "I am not a slave", a name sometimes used for the insurgents.

"Tonight the #Sindumuja tried to attack military camps but they failed," Willy Nyamitwe, media advisor to the president, wrote early on Friday.

Pacific Nininahazwe, an exiled civil society activist and anti-Nkurunziza protest leader said that, "at least two camps were attacked" and weapons looted and claimed that "soldiers have joined the rebels".

Exchanges of fire could still be heard in several neighbourhoods of Bujumbura by 08:30 early on Friday, when most people would be heading to work. Instead, the streets were empty as city residents stayed home.

"All bridges are under army control and no movement is being permitted from one area to another," the senior military officer told AFP.

The UN and several foreign embassies on Friday urged their employees to stay at home and lock their doors.

"This is a very worrying escalation because it is genuine military, or paramilitary, operations taking place in the capital," said one European diplomat.

Read more on:    burundi  |  east africa  |  security

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.