“In the Kinanira area the police attempted to enter homes since 4:00a.m, but residents resisted. The police began shooting and residents throwing stones. It is urban guerrilla in the city”, said a MISNA source from Bujumbura. Tension remains extremely high in the Burundian capital after the government announced the injury of 11 policemen in a grenade attack over the weekend, accusing the protest front against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term.
“On Friday night, from around 10:30pm to 3:00am, shots and grenade explosions could be heard in practically every area of the protest: the government accused the demonstrators, but based on other reconstruction, it was the police that attacked the neighbourhoods. Some sources also indicate that there were some victims, but it is difficult to have confirmation in regard”, added the MISNA source.
“The suburban areas are generally militarized and clashes are a daily occurrence, while in the city center police and troops are less visible”, specified the source. There were attacks also in other areas of the country, but reports in regard are vague. An armed attack with grenades against a bar in Ngozi, birth city of President Nkurunziza, in fact claimed an unspecified number of victims.
The United Nations named the Senegalese Abdoulaye Bathily, the special representative of the UN secretary general in Central Africa, as the new mediator in the crisis. Bathily replaces Said Djinnit, accused in the past weeks by the opposition of being “pro-government”. Perspectives of any dialogue however remain very difficult. “The civil society is attempting to continue the peaceful demonstrations, but there doesn’t appear to be any room: the risk is that the political parties that also have militias could intervene”, concluded the MISNA source.