Rebel Attack In West Burundi Kills 20

Twenty people have been killed in a rebel raid in western Burundi; all but one were civilians, the authorities reported on Saturday.

The RED-Tabara rebel group claimed responsibility for the attack and claimed to have murdered ten security force members in a statement.

The attack happened on Friday night in the town of Vugizo, which is home to the rebels’ base close to the Democratic Republic of the Congo border.

According to the government, “12 children, including five who are less than five years old; three women, including two who are pregnant; and five men, including a policeman who came to help the civilians” were killed in this “terrorist, vile, barbaric act” that targeted civilians.

Nine other people were wounded and have been hospitalised.

RED-Tabara, Burundi’s main rebel group, said in a message on X, formerly Twitter, that “fighters… based in Burundi attacked the Vugizo border post” and that “nine military and one policeman were killed”.

Two military and security sources told AFP that the attack targeted “a military position”.

“The civilians were caught in the crossfire and were killed, and then the assailants retreated to DRC,” a senior military official told AFP on condition of anonymity, confirming the toll of 20.

The attack marked the second one in two weeks inside Burundi by the rebels, who have not been active since September 2021, when they carried out a series of attacks, including on the Bujumbura airport.

Since then, their activities have been taking place in DR Congo’s South Kivu province.

But on December 11, they exchanged fire with the military in northwestern Burundi.

“The RED-Tabara movement promises to continue its operations in all of the country,” it said in its message on X.

Formed in 2011, RED-Tabara is thought to have between 500 and 800 fighters and has been behind most of the deadly attacks in Burundi since 2015.

Written by PH

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