Burundi death toll rises to 26 in three-day battle

Burundi’s army battled rebels for a third day running on Saturday, in clashes that have killed 20 fighters and six soldiers, a military spokesperson said.

In some of the worst fighting in months, military helicopters were deployed to the outskirts of the capital, Bujumbura, on Friday against the rebel Forces for National Liberation (FNL), spokesperson Colonel Adolphe Manirakiza said.

“We have been obliged to use strong means, because the FNL planned to attack different army bases,” he said, adding that the situation was now calm.

The latest violence started on Thursday night when FNL rebels fired mortar bombs at government positions in Bujumbura, drawing return fire from the military.

Manirakiza revised the previous death toll of 14 rebels and troops, saying 10 more FNL fighters and two soldiers were killed in clashes that continued until Saturday morning.

Much of the fighting centred on the FNL’s Bubanza stronghold, 50km north-west of the capital.—Reuters

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