NAIROBI Nearly 90 men and women were killed throughout Friday’s clashes in the Burundian capital, the army stated on Saturday, the worst outbreak of violence in Burundi considering that a failed coup in Could.
Blasts and gunfire echoed around Bujumbura for most of Friday and residents stated officials spent the day collecting bullet-riddled bodies from city streets.
There was no fighting overnight and the capital’s streets have been calm on Saturday.
Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza mentioned gunmen had attacked 3 military sites in Bujumbura, kindling a day of clashes across the city. He mentioned 79 attackers were killed and 45 other people captured. 4 police officers and four soldiers also died.
“Sweep operations have finished now,” Baratuza said, adding that officials confiscated weapons and ammunition.
Unrest in Burundi, which started in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans for a third term in office, has unnerved a area nevertheless volatile two decades soon after the genocide in neighboring Rwanda.
Friday’s clashes have been condemned by the United States, which like other Western powers fears the Central African nation could slide back into ethnic conflict.
The U.N. Security Council was briefed on the developments in Burundi late on Friday. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, who is president of the council for December, stated the 15-member physique was ready to think about “additional methods.”
The police did not determine the gunmen. One particular of the generals behind the failed coup attempt said afterwards that his rebel group nonetheless aimed to topple the president.
Residents mentioned some of Friday’s dead had been killed following being rounded up by the police in property-to-house searches, an allegation the police denied.
According to witnesses and images circulated on social media, some bodies had their hands tied behind their backs.
“They entered in our compounds, gathered all young and middle-aged guys, took them and killed them away from their homes,” said one particular resident in Nyakabiga.
But police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said there were “no collateral victims” during Friday clashes.
Baratuza said some attackers who attempted to raid the Ngagara military camp retreated and were pursued by safety forces who “inflicted on them considerable losses.”
Kenya Airways (KQNA.NR), which canceled flights to Burundi on Friday, stated it would resume flying to Bujumbura on Sunday.
Until now, battle lines in Burundi’s crisis have followed the political divide. But Western powers and neighboring countries worry prolonged violence could reopen old ethnic rifts in a nation of ten million men and women.
Burundi’s 12-year civil war, which ended in 2005, pitted rebel groups of the Hutu majority, such as a single led by Nkurunziza, against what was then an army led by the Tutsi minority. Rwanda has the identical ethnic mix.
More than 220,000 individuals have fled the violence to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Congo.
(Additional reporting by Louis Charbonneau in New York Writing by Drazen Jorgic Editing by Bill Rigby and Sandra Maler)