News / Africa

    87 Dead During Attacks on Military Bases in Burundi

    Men carry away a dead body in the Nyakabiga neighborhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, Dec. 12, 2015.
    Men carry away a dead body in the Nyakabiga neighborhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, Dec. 12, 2015.
    VOA News

    Burundi's army says at least 87 people were killed Friday in the capital, Bujumbura, in what it describes as coordinated attacks on three military installations by unknown gunmen.

    A military spokesman said Saturday that the dead included 79 "enemies," along with eight soldiers and policemen. He said 45 others had been captured in daylong firefights that extended into Saturday morning.  

    Horrified residents in several neighborhoods of the capital told Western reporters of emerging from hiding early Saturday to find dozens of corpses scattered in the streets.

    Witnesses said some of the victims had been dragged from their homes by security forces and executed.  Others described finding some of the dead with their hands bound behind their backs.

    The army declined to address those allegations.

    The fighting was seen as the worst since a failed coup attempt in May that came just weeks after two-term President Pierre Nkurunziza announced plans to seek a controversial third term. Analysts say nearly 250 people have been killed since then, and that some 200,000 residents have fled to nearby countries to escape the violence.

    Critics, including opposition leaders, said a third Nkurunziza term would be unconstitutional. However, the incumbent and his allies insisted on the legality of the candidacy, arguing that Nkurunziza was chosen by lawmakers rather than voters to one of his two earlier terms and was therefore not violating the constitution's two-term limit.  

    Burundi's constitutional court later ruled in the president's favor, and Nkurunziza won a third five-year term in July, in polls that were boycotted by opposition groups.  

    The latest fighting drew sharp condemnation from the United States and the United Nations.

    FILE - Residents look at the slain bodies of people killed at the Cibitoke district in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, December 9, 2015.
    FILE - Residents look at the slain bodies of people killed at the Cibitoke district in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, December 9, 2015.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged leaders on both sides to "refrain from any further escalation of violence." He also warned that those responsible for human rights violations would be held accountable.

    Samantha Power, the United States' U.N. ambassador, said "high-level political dialogue" needs to begin immediately between the government and the opposition "to defuse the situation" or else risk conditions "devolving into mass violence."

    A U.S. State Department spokesman said Washington was "deeply alarmed by the attacks," adding that "we condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms, and we call on all sides to refrain immediately from violence."

    US Embassy

    The U.S. Embassy in Burundi on Friday ordered its personnel to shelter in place and advised Americans in Bujumbura to take similar precautions.

    In a statement earlier this week, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price called for all sides in Burundi to reject violence and take part in an internationally mediated dialogue, outside the country, to resolve the crisis.

    Price said the United States might impose sanctions on others who blocked peace efforts or resorted to violence.

    Nike Ching at the State Department contributed to this report.

    WATCH: Related video

    Bodies Found in Burundi Capital's Streetsi
    X
    December 12, 2015 1:21 PM
    U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power said "high-level political dialogue" needs to begin immediately between the Burundi government and the opposition "to defuse the situation" or else risk the situation "evolving into mass violence."

    You May Like

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    From fast-food restaurants to pizza delivery, here's what the history of take-out food tells us about changes in American society

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Moses608 from: Kenya
    December 12, 2015 8:44 AM
    A lot more should be done for Burundi.Possibly time has already gone by when anything good could have been done.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora