What you need to know about grenade attacks in Burundi

The World Bank Group approved $120 million in financing for the Burundi Transport Resilient Projectwhich aims to provide efficient, safe, and climate resilient road connectivity along the main corridor linking Burundi with Tanzania. PHOTO| FILE.

Many have been left in crinkum-crankum as to why the random grenade attacks in Burundi particularly in Bujumbura city continue to happen, here are some of the facts that have continued to match these attacks on civilians especially in crowded areas like Bus parks.

Since 2015 when protests erupted against late president Pierre Nkurunziza’s move to run for a third term in the office, random grenade explosions and gun fires were experienced throughout the once economic capital of Bujumbura.

As armed men battled police during the nights of May 2015 while protests continued from dawn till dusk.

Some youth controlled the 2015 protests hotspots of Nyakabiga, Bwiza, Jabe, Musaga, Mutakura, Cibitoke, Ngagara to name but a few, youths turned into vigilantes at the peak of the protests, they battled the police during night hours that resulted to the armed men, police and civilians losing their lives.

Albeit the country returning back to normalcy after the December 11th 2015, this date was a turning point for the whole saga and scenario that erupted in May, 11th December was a D-Day as it was a make it or break it after military barracks was attacked by armed men, this forced the army to counterattack the real number of victims during that time until to date is yet unclear.

Since then Burundi started regaining peace and stability gradually albeit grenade attacks that continued sporadically, these attacks tend to happen during or prior to key moments for Burundi.

An example is when the country was set to conduct a referendum, under late Pierre Nkurunziza regime these attacks were sporadic.

After President Evariste Ndayishimiye took over the office many analysts believed that this could be the end of “soft target” attacks on civilians, however twin grenade attacks occurred in May this year the first under the incumbent president’s rule.

This came by no surprise that it was when Burundi hosted 51st meeting of the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights in Central Africa, the first time the country hosted a high level meeting since the political crisis erupted in 2015.

Prior to the twin grenade attack that claimed two people in the city center in Bujumbura, heavy explosions and gunfire were heard on Saturday night as eyewitnesses say that the explosions were from a nearby forest of Rukoko few kilometers from the airport.

A certain self-claimed rebel group (Red Tabara) claimed the attack via twitter, the attack came as Burundi’s president Evariste Ndayishimiye was set to leave for New York where this Thursday is expected to address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

This is the first time a sitting Burundi president physically addresses the UNGA in almost a decade, Burundi’s president left the country on Sunday and Monday September 20th the twin grenade attacks were launched in Bujumbura.

Until now these kind of attacks on civilians seems to be looking for “soft targets” some dead and dozens injured, no one has yet came out to claim the attack neither has the government announced the arrest of any suspect.

It is still enigma to understand reason behind these attacks, still it will not bare fruits as it is deemed to failure and disgrace acts against innocent civilians, women and children included.

If these are politically motivated attacks as some analysts believe, the perpetrators have turned their guns down and now shooting their own foot.

Because these attacks are not targeted but are random which may claim their family member’s lives.

With the history of Burundi from civil wars and ethnic violence to date where at least ethnicity won’t be a cause of bloodshed, many Burundians won’t buy anything connected to violence rather than development and business after recovering from the violent past.

Hence the same reason as to why the perpetrators of the grenade attacks that the government labelled as “terror attacks” will not succeed in the new Burundi that many are thirst for peace and prosperity.


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