Violence Hits Burundi Ahead of Peace Talks
Unidentified assailants fired three shells toward the center of Burundi’s capital Monday, two days before peace talks between Burundi’s government and opposition are set to start in Tanzania this week.
One of the shells landed a few meters from the offices of Bujumbura’s mayor, injuring three people, including a woman who was seriously wounded. Brief panic ensued after the attack.
Over the weekend, at least three people were killed. Eyewitnesses say that one of them was a young musician murdered by a police officer. Police officials said he was criminal fleeing arrest when he was accidentally gunned down. Authorities have opened an investigation into the incident.
Bujumbura saw dozens of shootings and bombings during 2015, amid the protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. The United Nations says at least 400 people have died.
Pierre Nkurikiye, police spokesman for Burundi, said his ministry is asking the public to remain vigilant.
“For those cases of insecurity, the ministry of public security sympathized with the bereaved families and informs the public that each case was followed by a careful investigation that will bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.
Burundians meanwhile are waiting for negotiations between their government and the opposition to begin on January 6 in Arusha.
Tension is running high ahead of the talks, as the African Union has said it may deploy up to 5,000 peacekeepers in Burundi. The government has said that if the troops come without permission, they will be attacked.