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  Calm returns in Burundi after clashes kill 87

Calm returns in Burundi after clashes kill 87

Published : Dec 14, 2015, 6:24 am IST
Updated : Dec 14, 2015, 6:24 am IST

Nearly 90 people were killed during Friday’s clashes in the Burundian capital, the Army said on Saturday, the worst outbreak of violence in Burundi since a failed coup in May.

Nearly 90 people were killed during Friday’s clashes in the Burundian capital, the Army said on Saturday, the worst outbreak of violence in Burundi since a failed coup in May.

The streets Bujumbura were calm as life returned to normal on Sunday.Blasts and gunfire echoed around Bujumbura for most of Friday and residents said officials spent the day collecting bullet-riddled bodies from city streets.

 

The Army said 87 people were killed — 79 “enemies” and eight soldiers, according to Colonel Gaspard Baratuza — during and after coordinated assaults on three military installations early on Friday morning.

Several witnesses accused the security forces of extrajudicial killings in the hours following the attacks, describing officers breaking down doors in search of young men and shooting them at close range.

Col. Baratuza said gunmen had attacked three military sites in Bujumbura, kindling a day of clashes across the city.

“Sweep operations have finished now,” Col. 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 region still volatile two decades after the genocide in neighbouring Rwanda.

Friday’s clashes were condemned by the United States, which like other Western powers fears the Central African nation could slide back into ethnic conflict. The UN Security Council was briefed on the developments in Burundi late on Friday. US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said the 15-member body was ready to consider “further steps.” The Army refused to identify the gunmen.

Location: Kenya, Nairobi