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Burundi’s Military on High Alert Following Uganda Attack

  • Peter Clottey

An official with Burundi’s army said the military has been put on high alert to protect unarmed civilians, as well as the country’s sensitive installations, following Sunday night’s deadly twin blasts in Uganda’s capital, Kampala.

The explosions claimed at least 74 lives.

Colonel Gaspard Baratuza, spokesman for Burundi’s army, said the military is encouraging Burundians to report anything suspicious ahead of the upcoming parliamentary election scheduled for July 23.

“We have taken into account to secure key infrastructures and we have re-enforced security measures in order to deal with the attacks that [may come] towards Burundi. Now, we didn’t decrease the strength of the measures that we have taken. We have updated day-by-day according to the situation," he said.

The Somali-based hard line Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for Sunday’s deadly attacks and has also warned Burundi of an imminent attack.

Recently, the insurgent group warned it will attack both Uganda and Burundi soldiers currently serving as peacekeepers forming the bulk of the African Union forces in Somalia (AMISOM) tasked with supporting Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government.

Last week, Sheikh Muqtar Robow Abu Mansuur, a senior al-Shabab official, issued a threat of retaliation against the peoples of Uganda and Burundi after he accused both countries of committing atrocities against residents of the Somali capital, Mogadishu, a charge a senior official of Uganda’s army has denied.

Army spokesman Baratuza said Burundi’s military has taken every measure to counter the threat posed by agents of the Somali hard-line insurgent group.

“We think that we should do something which is positive in order to fight against these attacks, which are [being planned] for the country. We have also reinforced [a] measure of control of the movement of the population. This is the role of the police, but we have increased vigilance to see if there is no strange thing which can enter into our country,” Baratuza said.

He also encouraged Burundians to report any suspicious activities in order to thwart any planned attacks.

Described by Washington as a terrorist organization with strong links to al-Qaida, the hard-line Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab has refused to recognize the internationally-backed Somali administration.

The group has vowed to overthrow President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed’s government to implement the strictest form of the Sharia Law.