20 Killed in Rebel Attack in Western Burundi: Government

Sat Dec 23 2023
icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp

NAIROBI: At least 20 people were killed in a rebel attack in western Burundi, with civilians bearing the brunt of the violence, according to a statement from the government. The attack, claimed by the RED-Tabara rebel group, occurred in the town of Vugizo, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo), where the rebels have a base.

The government labeled the incident a “terrorist, vile, barbaric act” that deliberately targeted civilians. Among the casualties were “12 children, including five less than five years old; three women, and five men, including a policeman who came to help the civilians.” Nine others were wounded in the attack and have been hospitalized.

In a statement on X, the RED-Tabara rebel group claimed responsibility for the attack, asserting that its fighters, based in Burundi, targeted the Vugizo border post. The group stated that “nine military and one policeman were killed” during the operation.

Rebel Attacks in Burundi

Military and security sources confirmed that the attack targeted a military position, and civilians were caught in the crossfire. The assailants reportedly retreated to the Democratic Republic of Congo after the attack.

This marks the second attack within Burundi by the RED-Tabara rebels in two weeks, despite a period of relative inactivity since September 2021. The rebels had previously carried out attacks, including on Bujumbura airport. While their recent activities have mainly taken place in the DRC’s South Kivu province, the rebels exchanged fire with the Burundian military on December 11 in northwestern Burundi.

“The RED-Tabara movement promises to continue its operations in all of the country,” the rebel group declared in its statement on X. Formed in 2011, RED-Tabara is estimated to have between 500 and 800 fighters and has been associated with most deadly attacks in Burundi since 2015.

icon-facebook icon-twitter icon-whatsapp