Two killed in Burundi army clashes

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

Burundi troops have killed two gunmen in separate clashes in recent days, the army said Wednesday, the latest unrest following the president’s controversial re-election.

Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza said that “unidentified criminals” had staged attacks on military posts, including on Tuesday night, when one gunman was killed in the rural district of Buringa some eight kilometres (five miles) southeast of the capital Bujumbura.

Tensions remain high following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s successful bid for a third term in power in July.

Gunmen also attacked a military post in Gihanga, some 15 kilometres (nine miles) northeast of Bujumbura overnight Sunday.

“There was an exchange of fire as a criminal group wanted to rob the people, a criminal was killed,” Baratuza added.

Witnesses, who asked not to be named, said that in both attacks the gunmen were well armed and dressed in military uniforms.

Nkurunziza won a highly-controversial third term in July in polls the United Nations said were not free or fair. His bid sparked an attempted coup and months of civil unrest led by opposition groups, who condemned his re-election bid as unconstitutional.

There has also been a string of killings since his re-election, including the assassination of his top security chief in a rocket attack last month.

Many have raised alarm bells at the risk of renewed conflict in Burundi, which lies in the heart of central Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region. At least 300,000 people were killed in a civil war there which ran from 1993-2006.

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