By Samuel Ouga
Buringa – Burundi police have reportedly attacked a convoy of vehicles returning from a funeral in Mpanda cemetery. Death and injuries reported.
The convoy was attacked by police officers from the anti-Riot brigade.
“We were going back to our homes. We came just to attend a funeral. I was on my bike and I noticed the police of the anti-Riot brigade in trenches. One of them was dressed in civil clothing. I…saw Desire Uwamahoro give the order to shoot. He and other police officers opened fire on a coaster and two cars following. People were killed…” narrates a survivor.
Eye witnesses say the rest of the procession fled, and some of the injured were taken to Buringa health centre.
The victims, mostly youth from Ngagara and Cibitoke, were from burying a young man called Djibril killed in a fire caused by the explosions that rocked Cibitoke area in North of the capital Bujumbura.
Police and pro government mbonerakure youth militia are said to have followed injured victims taken to Burunga health centre. Those who escaped the massacre are reportedly still being hunting down. Eye witnesses say up to 16 people were killed and survivors rounded up.
Police have, however, disputing the numbers and say onlt one person was killed after firing a gun.
Col Desire Uwamahoro; a commander of a notorious “Special police unit” has been mentioned in several reports of extra judicial killings and mass violence against civilians, and especially those perceived to be anti-President Nkurunziza.
Burundi police and the armed pro government youth militia; ‘mbonerakure’ have been accused of waging a brutal campaign targeting those opposed to President Nkurunziza with in Burundi and abroad.
Last week, president Nkurunziza issued a statement that many interpreted as a threat against families of his exiled opponents.
President Pierre Nkurunziza was re-elected in July, amidst a wave of mass protests against his third term bid that his opponents and international bodies, including the African Union, said was violating term limits in the constitution, and the Arusha peace deal that ended Burundi’s civil war.
Mass killings of of civilians and president Nkurunziza’s opponents seems to be continuing with impunity. Law and order has completely broken down in Burundi. Finding dead bodies in the streets of Burundi’s capital Bujumbura are now daily occurrences.