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At least 36 killed after gunmen attack bar in Burundi


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At least 36 killed after gunmen attack bar in Burundi

2011-09-20 14:04:33 GMT+7 (ICT)

BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI (BNO NEWS) -- At least 36 people were killed after unidentified gunmen opened fire at a crowded bar in Gatumba, near the Burundian capital of Bujumbura, officials said on Tuesday.

The attack happened late on Sunday night when armed men raided the bar, killing 36 people and injuring several others. "I heard someone some distance away shout: 'Kill them all,' and they opened fire," one survivor told the BBC.

The survivor also said the attackers wore military uniforms. Burundi's last rebel group officially laid down its arms in 2009 but sporadic attacks have continued, although it was not immediately known who was behind the attack.

Last year, former rebel leader Agathon Rwasa and his National Liberation Forces pulled out of the presidential election, accusing the governing party of fraud. After boycotting the electoral process, the group went into hiding.

The government has blamed recent attacks on bandits but the BBC correspondent said some fear a new rebel group has emerged. According to some reports, the gunmen crossed into Gatumba from just across the border in Democratic Republic of Congo to carry out the attack.

President Pierre Nkurunziza visited the scene after the attack and vowed to bring those responsible to justice. He also cancelled this week's trip to New York for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, according to the BBC.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday strongly condemned the armed attack and called on all parties to exercise restraint. "He notes that this senseless attack comes at a time when Burundi is trying to consolidate recent gains in peace and stability following decades of civil war," Ban's spokesperson said in a statement.

He added: "The Secretary-General conveys his deepest condolences to the families of the victims. He hopes that the perpetrators of these crimes will be brought to justice promptly and calls on all parties to exercise restraint."

The Central African country is still recovering from decades of civil war and ethnic fighting. Some 300,000 people are said to have been killed in Burundi's 12-year civil war between the minority Tutsi-dominated army and ethnic Hutu rebels.

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-- © BNO News All rights reserved 2011-09-20

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