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Burundi President Evariste Ndayishimiye. PHOTO: Tchandrou Nitanga/AFP


Nairobi – At least two people were killed and a number of others were wounded when a grenade exploded in a bar in Burundi's capital Gitega on Sunday evening, a police source said.

The blast occurred a day after a series of mortar shells were fired at the airport in the economic hub of Bujumbura in an attack claimed by a rebel group.

A security source told AFP on condition of anonymity: "A grenade was thrown last night in a bar run by a police officer where many officials and members of the ruling party were gathered"

A police officer said the blast killed two people on the spot, while eight people were being treated in medical facilities in Gitega.

The attack was confirmed to AFP by two witnesses, who said that many people were injured.

Late on Saturday, the airport came under attack a day before President Evariste Ndayishimiye was due to fly out for the UN General Assembly in New York, without causing any victims or damage.

'Enemies of peace'

The RED-Tabara rebel group, which is accused of being behind many deadly attacks or ambushes across the country since 2015, claimed responsibility in a statement on Twitter.

No Burundian official wanted to comment publicly on the latest incidents and official media was also instructed not to refer to them.

A senior official told AFP on condition of anonymity: "All these attacks are launched by the enemies of peace to show that insecurity reigns in Burundi at a time when his Excellency President Evariste Ndayishimiye is going to New York for his biggest visit since he became head of state in Burundi."

"But they will not go far because the situation is under control."

RED-Tabara, which has its rear base in South Kivu in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, emerged 10 years ago and is now the most active of Burundi's rebel groups.

In 2020, it claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in which it said more than 40 people were killed among security forces and the youth league of the ruling CNDD-FDD party.

The Burundian government and many diplomats believed at the time that the rebel group, which has between 500 and 800 men, was led by one of the fiercest opponents of the state, Alexis Sinduhije, which he has always denied. - AFP/News24

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