BUJUMBURA – Burundi’s army said on Tuesday that it has killed 95 militants from an unidentified group based in neighbouring Congo that wanted to move across the border to try to disrupt elections, a spokesman said on Tuesday.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
Col. Gaspard Baratuza, citing documents found during the week-long fighting, said that the group planned to set up a base in the Kibira forest in northern Burundi, from where it would mount the attacks.
Report says Burundi is due to hold parliamentary and local elections on May 26, followed by an election to pick the president on June 26 and another to elect the senate on July 17.
A number of armed groups, remnants of past conflicts in the region, inhabit the jungles of eastern Congo, but this group has so far not been identified.
“The army says it believe it is Burundian because members spoke the local Kirundi language.
“The army captured nine of the attackers but the prisoners had so far refused to reveal the group they belonged to or their motives.
“The fighting ended, but the group which attacked is yet to be identified and its claims are not yet known,’’ Baratuza told a news conference.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
Baratuza said that two soldiers and two civilians were also killed in the fighting in the western province of Cibitoke on the border with Democratic Republic of Congo.
The votes have already stirred controversy in a region that has sometimes struggled to achieve peaceful handovers of power.
The ruling coalition and its opponents were locked in a row over whether President Pierre Nkurunziza could run for office for a third term.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”10″]
According to the report, the president is widely expected to make another bid but has yet to say whether he will run. (Reuters/NAN)