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Burundi Denies Attacking Rwanda

Gitega has denied Kigali’s charges that gunmen who attacked Rwanda this past Saturday morning quickly retreated to Burundi.

“Burundian soil cannot be a sanctuary for armed elements that disturb the security of neighboring countries,” Burundi Defence Spokesperson, Col Floribert Biyereke.

The attack occurred at about 12:20am on Saturday.

Rwanda’s Defence ministry yesterday said approximately “100 unidentified gunmen heavily armed with machine guns, rocket launchers and grenades attacked an RDF defensive position with intention to kill civilians in Yanze IDP Model village.”

The village is located about 1000m from the Burundi Border in Ruheru Sector, Nyaruguru District in Southern Rwanda.

RDF further said the attack lasted 20-30 minutes.

According to Rwanda’s Military Spokesperson, Lt Col Innocent Munyengango, the RDF engaged the attackers who withdrew back to Burundi.

“The gunmen attacked from Burundi and they fled back in the same direction towards Burundi military position at Gihisi, Commune Bukinanyana, Cibitoke province. Assailants left behind four of their dead, military equipment that include weapons and communication radios, and dry rations marked “FORCE DE DEFENSE NATIONALE DU BURUNDI” (Burundi Armed Forces).”

However, Burundi dismissed the claims as propaganda.

“The manipulation of opinion continues through several platforms to support the lies of Rwanda against Burundi,” said presidential advisor, Willy Nyamitwe.

The attack occurred just hours after the burial of departed Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, who, during his reign, declared Rwanda a hostile country.

The skirmishes have raised fears of a possible escalation of hostilities between the two countries.

Gitega accuses Kigali of training and arming militia groups in DRC including Red Tabara to destabilize Burundi.

On the other hand, Kigali accuses Gitega of helping Rwandan rebels to carry out attacks in Rwanda.

Both countries deny the counter accusations.

RDF yesterday said three of the attackers were captured and that three RDF soldiers sustained minor injuries.

“We reassure Rwandans that action will be taken against those responsible. We are pursuing, through diplomatic channels, precise information about these repeated attacks,” said Munyengango.

On Twitter, Burundian officials said Rwanda was preparing to attack Burundi.

“Our neighbor to the North (Rwanda) is not happy with the success of the electoral process in Burundi,” said Hucuburundi Jean Anastatse, a Burundian Lawyer with government ties.

“He (President Kagame) is looking for a scapegoat for his internal problems.”

Regional bodies including the East African Community (EAC) are yet to comment on the development.

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