Violence continues to brew in Burundi’s capital of Bujumbura following recent attacks on security forces which have escalated with frequent ambushes of police convoys by rebels armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and mortars aimed at government installations.
The latest attack took place overnight when heavily armed assailants stormed two army posts in Bujumbura. The coordinated attacks which occurred in the early hours of Friday sparked clashes with troops that left at least 12 fighters dead, an army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza said.
20 other fighters were arrested after the attacks on a base at Ngagara in the north of Bujumbura and a military training college in the south, Baratuza told state radio.
In his message on Twitter after the attack, Presidential media adviser, Willy Nyamitwe wrote: “Sindumuja [a name for armed opponents] tried to attack military camps but they failed,” describing the raids as “a diversion” to try to free prisoners.
“Situation is returning to normal as firearms are seized, many Sindumuja assailants killed or arrested,” he added.
Witnesses said there was heavy firing, including artillery, lasting several hours at the Ngagara base and the ISCAM Higher Institute of Military Training in Musaga.
The fighting on Friday was the heaviest in months since conflict broke out following a failed coup in May. Violence increased when President Nkurunziza mooted a third term bid which he later won in disputed elections in July.
A source in the presidency said a declaration of a state of emergency was under consideration.
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