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Burundi: 12 Killed in Attacks on Army Bases

by VOA News December 11, 2015

A Burundian army spokesman said 12 gunmen who attacked military bases in the capital Friday were killed, as soldiers clashed with their attackers.

Colonel Gaspard Baratuza said in a statement that 21 attackers were captured along with some arms and explosives.

Baratuza said five soldiers were wounded. However, army soldiers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that at least three soldiers were killed.

Gunfire and explosions were heard around Bujumbura after the unidentified gunmen attacked at least two military sites around 4 a.m. local time.

Presidential media adviser Willy Nyamitwe wrote on Twitter that the strikes were a 'diversion' by the attackers to try to free prisoners at the military camps.

Nyamitwe later wrote that the situation in the capital was returning to normal and the government has not declared a state of emergency.

Burundi has been plagued with unrest since April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term. Critics said he was violating the constitution's two-term limit as well as an agreement that ended Burundi's 12-year civil war.

Hundreds killed

The United Nations says violence since then has killed more than 240 people and prompted more than 200,000 Burundians to flee the country. The president was re-elected in July in a vote boycotted by the opposition.

The U.S. embassy in Burundi on Friday ordered its personnel to shelter in place and advised Americans in Bujumbura to take similar precautions.

In a statement earlier this week, U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price called for all sides in Burundi to reject violence and take part in an internationally mediated dialogue, outside the country, to resolve the crisis.

He said the United States may impose sanctions on others who block peace efforts or resort to violence.

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