Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Fighting between government troops and rebels of the National Liberation Front (FNL) has claimed 29 lives in rural Bujumbura, a province bordering the Burundi capital.
Army spokesman Augustin Nzabampema, who denied allegations that 60 people had died in the fighting, confirmed the death toll.
Nzabampema also denied rumours that civilians were killed in the fighting that displaced people from the areas of conflict.
Over 24,000 people have flocked towards the capital's districts and its outskirts since Monday, said the spokesman.
According to a recent inquiry of the UN office on humanitarian affairs (OCHA), the new displaced have added to over 100,000 others who are camping in more secure sites around Bujumbura.
The war has taken a new turn, with mortar fire launched by the rebels on two residential districts and the university campus of Kiriri in eastern Bujumbura.
The latest rebel attacks targeting directly a district of the capital are the first since late February 2001 when the FNL besieged for two weeks the residential area of Kinama in northern Bujumbura.
According to observers, the new offensive was likely to undermine a massive repatriation effort of Burundi refugees from Tanzania, planned for April by the government and its partners.