Gunmen attack police post in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura

14 Jan 2011

Gunmen attack police post in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura

Bujumbura, February 14, 2011_At least one person was killed when gunmen attacked a police post in a urban community 10 km south of the Burundian capital Bujumbura, witnesses told Xinhua on Monday.

The raid on the target lasted hours on Sunday night at Ruziba in the community of Kanyosha. A body of a man with a gun, three chargers full of ammunitions and wearing a military uniform and plastic boots could be seen near the police post on Monday morning.

"The man must be one of the attackers who died during exchange of gunfire between gunmen and policemen," a witness told Xinhua.

Witnesses said, "More than 50 armed persons opened fire at Ruziba police post at around 9 p.m.. Several gunshots were still heard up to 5 a.m.. We were very scared."

They said, "Most attackers were wearing military uniforms and had guns while two of them were wearing police uniforms."

The head of Kanyosha community, however, said the armed people actually meant to rob a shop in the neighborhood of the police post.

"Armed bandits were last night targeting a shop located near the police post. They wanted to steal things in the shop. They didn't attack the police post," Administrator of Kanyosha Abraham Aoudou Bampoye told Xinhua.

During the attack, the house serving as a shop near the police post was burned.

The house reportedly belonged to a militant of the Forces Nationales de Liberation - FNL Nyakuri Iragi rya Gahutu Rémy, a wing of the Forces Nationales de Liberation (FNL) led by opposition leader Agathon Rwasa.

Three cows were also killed. Two people were seriously injured.

Rwasa went into hiding in June 2010 after the opposition pulled out of the country's electoral process, citing fraud in the May 24 communal elections.

After Rwasa's departure, his FNL party split in two -- some party militants deviated from him, others kept loyal to him.
Since then, some residents in Bujumbura Rural Province have not been able to sleep well at night amid tensions between militants of the FNL and those of the ruling Conseil National pour la Defense de la Democratie-Forces de Defense de la Democratie.

Police posts in Burundi's western regions have been the target of gunmen, who are reported to have formed a rebel group of the opposition.

The government, however, said attackers are just "armed bandits".