14 bodies found in Burundian river

2010-09-22 11:04

Bujumbura - Residents in northern Burundi are on alert after the discovery of 14 bodies, some of them mutilated, in a local river over the last week, a local official said on Wednesday.

"Since last week, we have found 14 bodies in this area, some of them with their limbs bound and others with machete wounds," local administrator Julien Nimbona said.

"Fear has engulfed the region and residents fear a resumption of violence."

In the latest discovery on Tuesday, four bodies were found floating on River Rusizi where it empties on Lake Tanganyika in the north of Burundi, he added.

"We are not sure who is behind these murders, but these bodies have been washed down by River Rusizi which flows through Rukoko marshes and some believe they are from there," said the official.

Several residents have been killed near the Rukoko marshes, some 15 km north of the capital Bujumbura in recent days by armed bandits whom residents suspect to be a reformed rebel group.

Burundi's top security officials have nevertheless been adamant that a recent spate of killings were the work of gangs of "unidentified armed bandits" and play down rumours that the former rebellion is reforming.

Following local elections in May, three opposition leaders went into hiding blaming President Pierre Nkurunziza's party of having rigged the poll.

Nkurunziza's main political rival, Agathon Rwasa, abandoned his government duties and went back to the bush, fueling speculation that his National Liberation Forces has reformed, barely a year after laying down their arms.