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

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    China Seeks On-Off Switch for Internet

    Public asks whose security is cybersecurity law aiming to protect

    UN Human Rights Chief: Burundi May Explode Into Ethnic Violence

    Burundian government accuses the UN of a campaign of distortion

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora