By Eloge Willy Kaneza, AP
BUJUMBURA, Burundi–Burundi’s political violence escalated Saturday as 28 people were found shot dead in three neighborhoods in the capital, a day after the government said an unidentified group carried out coordinated attacks on three military installations.
A climate of fear has engulfed the capital, Bujumbura, after the sound of battle could be heard throughout the day Friday and sporadic gunfire overnight. Residents hid in their houses leaving only security personnel patrolling the streets.
Some residents ventured out of their houses Saturday but largely remained uneasily in their neighborhoods.
An eyewitness told The Associated Press he counted 21 bodies with bullet wounds in their heads in the Nyakabiga neighborhood Saturday morning. Some of the dead had their hands tied behind their backs, said the witness, who insisted on anonymity due to safety concerns.
It could not be independently verified who killed the 21 but another witness blamed government security forces saying they went after the victims in door-to-door searches.
“I fear I can be killed like my friend yesterday, police came to search our house and by chance I escaped. If I had money, I would go buy a passport and flee,” said Fidele Muyobera,22, who works as household help.
“What is the international community waiting for? Will they intervene when there are no more people in Burundi?” asked businessman Gerald Bigirimana in Nyakabiga while pointing at one of the bodies lying on the streets.