Protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third-term bid has continued resulting to unprecedented violence in Burundi, killing people and shaking peace and order in the capital.
Coordinated assaults by heavily armed attackers on several army barracks in Bujumbura, the capital have left at least seven people to include attackers killed. According to witnesses, for several hours, the attackers used guns and explosives wrecking both the northern part in Ngagara and the southern part in Musuga of the country’s capital.
The attacks put the country to its worst violence since the attempted coup in May, which was attributed to and ignited by the incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third-term in the presidency. BBC reporter Prime Ndikumagenga from the city of Burundi reported that the attacks on military barracks are the first, since the coup incident.
Mr Nkurunziza won a disputed election in July and from then onwards, Burundi’s capital Bujumbura has been shaken by violence. The city residents said, since “Le Crise” – or the crisis – which started in April, “more razor wire barriers line certain streets and soldiers are constantly on patrol throughout the city”.
The series of attacks, according to BBC has left Bujumbura residents in fear for their lives that they have remained in their homes, refusing to go to work and even children were not sent to school.
Since President Pierre Nkurunziza bid for a third term in April, at least 200,000 Burundi citizens and residents have left to neighbouring countries, and at least 240 people have been killed, in Bujumbura.
The situation in Burundi, is sending an alarm of concern to the United Nations such that it has been looking at possibilities of sending “in a rapid reaction force” should the need arise. Meanwhile, the African Union military observers are on the ground and have launched an assessment of the situation.
Observers have expressed that the current violence in Burundi is a picture of a confusing situation that “both the opposition and the government are pointing fingers to each other as the cause of violence.
On the government side, Presidential spokesperson Willy Nyamitwe said the opposition was responsible for the unrest. He declared that “they’re carrying out the attacks because they want sympathy from the West.” But government sent a signal of a peaceful Burundi. It says that the “violence is restricted to certain districts in the capital, and that the rest of the country is peaceful.”
According to UN’s special adviser on genocide, Adama Dieng in a BBC report, “We can observe today in Burundi a clear manipulation of ethnicity by both the government and opposition,” . Adding he said, “We know that ethnicity can be used to divide populations, and spreading hatred among them, which can have tragic consequences.”
Innocent people are caught in this turmoil and violence. Even those who are “not political activists” or those who are not part of the current government, the ordinary citizens are affected of the attacks. They are the innocent collaterals that suffered because of the power struggle that runs havoc in Burundi.