Burundi Violence Flares Over Weekend, Leaving 11 People Dead

  • Grenade attack, shootings as nine-month crisis continues
  • African Union due to send delegation for talks with government

Violence flared in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, leaving at least 11 people dead over the weekend as African Union efforts to stem the country’s nine-month political crisis continue.

A grenade attack on a bar in the Kinama neighborhood late Saturday killed four people, including a child selling eggs, and injured 13, the city’s mayor, Freddy Mbonimpa, said by phone. That assault came about a day after gunmen raided homes in the Musaga district, killing five people. Ndayikunda Aristide, a local leader of the Imbonerakure, the youth wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD party, said the dead belonged to his group.

SOS Medias Burundi, a network of local journalists, also reported the killing of a military officer in the city’s Cibitoke district and a civilian in the Ruyaga neighborhood over the weekend.

Landlocked Burundi, home to 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves, has been hit by a wave of political violence that’s killed about 440 people since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to stand for a third term in April. The United Nations has warned the country risks sliding back into a civil conflict that could spill over into neighbors such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Africa’s biggest copper producer.

An African Union delegation is due to visit Burundi soon to hold talks in an attempt to quell the bloodshed. The continental bloc last weekend backed away from immediate plans to deploy peacekeepers in the country after the government rejected the idea.

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