One killed in grenade attack as Burundi violence continues


At least one person was killed in a grenade attack on a bar in Burundi on Monday night, witnesses said, in more violence since the African Union backed away from sending in peacekeepers without the government’s consent.

The grenades went off in the Butere neighbourhood of the capital Bujumbura.
“One (person) was killed instantly,” said Jean de Dieu, who was near the scene of attack.

Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye confirmed two grenades were detonated and eight people were wounded.

Burundi sank into crisis last year after President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term of office, which he secured in a disputed vote.

African leaders, who met in Addis Ababa at the weekend, agreed to send a team to try to persuade Nkurunziza to accept a 5,000-strong force after he rejected the plan and said any such force would be treated as an invasion.

The Butere neighbourhood was one of the flashpoints during the height of the violent protest against Nkurunziza’s decision, along with the neighbouring Mutakura and Cibitoke areas.

When the peacekeeping plan was announced in December by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council, officials said they could invoke an article of the AU’s charter that allows it to act even without a government’s agreement.

But African leaders showed wariness of such a move at the summit and instead decided to seek approval first.

Following a visit by the UN Security Council to Burundi late last month, Nkurunziza wrote to the 15-member body to say he took note of their concerns.
“We have decided — and issued instructions accordingly to the officials of the services concerned — to make ourselves available to the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General,” Nkurunziza wrote in a January 25 letter, made public on Tuesday.

He promised they would co-operate closely with the special adviser’s team to support an inclusive national dialogue, disarmament, security, human rights and development.