Burundi insurgents target presidential palace in failed mortar attack

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza. Image source defenceweb

Insurgents took responsibility Thursday for a failed mortar attack overnight on Burundi’s presidential palace, in one of the first known such attempts in months of anti-government unrest.

The two shells, reportedly fired from the surrounding hills, exploded a few hundred metres (yards) from the complex, echoing attacks carried out during the 1993-2006 civil war. There were no casualties.

One insurgent confirmed that the attack “targeted the presidential palace” but that the shells “unfortunately” missed.

The blasts were heard far across the city, according to residents, while a diplomat confirmed the explosions as being mortar rounds.

Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye however called the reports lies. “We heard about it and went to check… it never existed,” he said.

The government blames a string of attacks on “armed criminals”, but UN has warned that Burundi risks sliding back into civil war after a dramatic rise in violence. Similar mortar blasts were reported in October.

Burundi descended into violence in April after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a now succesful bid for a third consecutive term in office, despite concerns over the legality of such a move. At least 240 people have been killed and more than 200,000 have fled the country since.

1 Comment
  • AnnGarrison

    This seems rather significant. “Burundian insurgetns” are claiming to have tried to assassinate the president. Where’s the outcry of the international community?