Rebels attack several locations in southern Burundi

Bujumbura- Burundi (PANA) -- Growing insecurity in several regions of Burundi has spilled over to the relatively calm southern part of the country where massive attacks, blamed on the rebellion, have been reported since Friday, a military source said.
A group of about 100 heavily armed rebels attacked the parochial centre of Butwe, in the southern province of Bururi, looting shops and pharmacies and making off with goods, medicines and money, Col.
Augustin Nzabampema, spokesman for the Burundian army told journalists on Sunday.
He said neighbouring villages were also attacked and set on fire by rebels in Gasarenda, Matana commune.
However, the rebels did not attack civilians and only one soldier was wounded when an army truck was ambushed, according to sources contacted by PANA in the region.
The attackers reportedly moved on the same day towards the commune of Songa, near Matana, here looting and arson on houses and shops was reported.
The rebel attack caused general panic among the people as they fled en masse towards more secure areas, according to army sources.
Rebel offensive in several regions of central and eastern Burundi, as well around Bujumbura, started early March, forcing thousands of civilians into exile.
The offensive is taking place against the backdrop of negotiations for a cease-fire between the government of Maj.
Pierre Buyoya and the leader of the main rebel movement, the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), Col.
Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye.
Though the two met last Tuesday and Wednesday in Libreville, Gabon, they failed to make a breakthrough on the issue.

22 Abril 2001 18:48:00

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