At least 87 people were found dead in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura on Saturday, a day after the government said an unidentified group carried out coordinated attacks on three military installations. Burundian army spokesman Colonel Gaspard Baratuza said eight security officers were among those killed during and after Friday’s attacks.
“The final toll of the attacks yesterday is 79 enemies killed, 45 captured and 97 weapons seized, and on our side eight soldiers and policemen were killed and 21 wounded,” Baratuza was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. A climate of fear has engulfed Bujumbura after the sound of battle could be heard throughout Friday and sporadic gunfire overnight. Residents hid in their houses leaving only security personnel patrolling the streets.
“Residents say people wearing police uniforms came into residential areas that have been hotbeds of protest. Residents believe these killings were a response to Friday’s attacks on the military,” reported Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, who spoke to eyewitnesses in Bujumbura. “The bodies of dozens of civilians were on the street – most of them young men – many appear to have been shot at close range,” said Webb.