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Africa

Grenade blast follows string of attacks on Burundi capital

© SOS Médias Burundi via Facebook | A Bujumbura taxi hit by grenade fragments

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-02-15

At least a dozen people were wounded Monday when attackers hurled grenades in Burundi's capital Bujumbura, the latest in a string of attacks in the troubled central African nation, witnesses said.

Three grenades were thrown by men on a motorbike in the symbolic heart of the city, while two other blasts were reported in a northern suburb, according to witnesses and a journalist group, SOS Medias Burundi.

According to SOS Medias Burundi, at least one child was killed. The organisation issued a photograph of the alleged victim, a small corpse covered by a blanket lying on the street.

Grenade blasts have become commonplace in the city, but it remains unclear who carried out the attacks, which have increased in the past two weeks.

Security forces, rebels and opposition all blame the other for the killings.

Presidential press chief Willy Nyamitwe confirmed the attacks, telling AFP that "as usual... terrorists kill civilians with grenades."

Burundi plunged into crisis in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for, and won, a controversial third term sparking street protests, a failed coup, regular killings and a nascent rebellion.

Hundreds have been killed in the violence and at least 230,000 have fled the country.

"We do not know what is going on, but it is clear they want to terrorise us. I heard three grenade explosions and here, near the central roundabout, there were several wounded," one witness, who asked not to be named, told AFP. 

The leader of the failed May 2015 coup, ex-general Godefroid Nyombare, now leads a rebel group, Forebu.

The rebels formed the force "to protect the population" and uphold the Arusha Agreement that paved the way to the end of the country's 1993-2006 civil war -- an accord they say Nkurunziza violated by his third term in power.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2016-02-15

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