Military tension rises in central, eastern Burundi

Bujumbura, Burundi (PANA) - Ambushes and clashes followed by looting have been reported in Burundi's provinces of Gitega (centre) and Ruyigi (east), where the regular army has been battling with rebels for several months.
The military said that on Monday three lorries ran into an ambush attributed to the rebellion on a Ruyigi road.

Carrying traders, the vehicles were travelling to Bujumbura, the Burundi capital, when the rebels ambushed them on the outskirts of the administrative centre of the Ruyigi Province, said commander of the second military region, Colonel Cyprien Hakiza.

The attackers robbed the passengers of their money and clothes, Hakiza said.

Hakiza indicated that some fierce fighting has been raging of late in the Gishubi, Giheta and Butaganza communes between his troops and elements of the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), the main rebel movement in the country.

Generally, the army abstains from issuing any death toll figures.

President Pierre Buyoya's regime has toughened its stance against the rebels in the past few days by refusing to authorise any food supplies to the FDD troops donated by the European Union, unless the fighters ended armed attacks and looting.

Buyoya is expected to step down by 1 May to make way for Vice President Domitien Ndayizeye, in compliance with the Inter- Burundian peace agreements.


Pan African News Agency
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