Gunmen kill nine as Burundi police launch search for weapons

Gunmen raid bar kill nine people as many families are fleeing their homes in Burundi's capital of Bujumbura over fears of possible new wave of violence

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Burundian police and soldiers guard a deserted street in Bujumbura, Burundi, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2015

Gunmen killed nine people in Burundi’s capital Bujumbura, hours before police launched house-to-house searches for weapons on Sunday, amid international worries of fresh violence in the country.

Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of police and soldiers were deployed to the opposition area of Mutakura district in Bujumbura, to begin a feared crackdown on "enemies of the nation."

Witnesses said security forces were searching door-to door, searches came on the eve of a special meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss the increase in turmoil and ethnic tensions in Burundi.  

Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa said, police were searching for "hidden weapons," after a call to turn in illegal weapons was issued by the president, claiming the searches were being "done professionally, because the police are using "weapon detectors."  

Security officials displayed around a dozen weapon and grenades, they said they had confiscated during the searches, which they said would continue in the coming days.

Mbonimpa also said, seven people were killed in an “execution” attack, targeting a bar on Saturday night and that an investigation had been launched to find the "assassins." 

The violence in Burundi has been steadily increasing since April, when Nkurunziza announced he would stand in again as president, despite the constitutional two-term limit, he argues his first term does not count because he was chosen by MPs. He was re-elected in July, which the opposition says contradicts the terms of the peace deal and the constitution signed in 2006, after ten years of civil war.

The global community has condemned the leaders of Burundi for inciting violence, after President Pierre Nkurunziza gave an ultimatum for people to hand over illegal weapons, unless they want to be treated as enemies of the state.

"The recurring violence and killings in Burundi must stop," UN chief Ban Ki-moon said Friday.

Rwanda's Paul Kagame accuses Burundi’s leaders

Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame accused Burundi’s leaders of conducting "massacres" against their people, during his speech concerning the unrest in the neighboring nation.

"People die every day, corpses litter the streets... How can the leaders allow their population to be massacred from morning to night?" Kagame said on Friday.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame talking during a press conference.

Burundian Presidential spokesman Willy Nyamitwe on Sunday dismissed Kagame's comments as "inappropriate remarks."

Many families are fleeing their homes in Burundi's capital of Bujumbura, over fears of a possible new wave of violence after President Nkurunziza's speech.

TRTWorld and agencies