Rwanda denies Burundi's accusation of armed attacks

Government of Burundi has officially claimed Rwanda entered its territory last month and conducted attack that killed several soldiers.

In statement read by government spokesman Prosper Ntahorwamiye to media in Bujumbura; Bujumbura says categorically that Rwanda was the one that carried out the attack on the night of November 16-17.

The attackers overran Burundian military camp in Mabayi commune, Cibitoke province, neighboring Rwanda. Reports said 8 soldiers were killed, and many others injured.

Since the attack, Burundians on social media and other obscure sites have reported of the attack as extremely sophisticated. An armed gang or rebel group couldn’t have had such capabilities, according to reports.

Days which followed, spokesman of Burundi army chief said the attackers came from Rwanda, but did not say whether they were Rwandan soldiers or rebels.

Today, the statement read by Government Spokesman said Burundi was no longer going to look on, and would act in “self-defense, and above all, [have] right to hot pursuit”.

Calling them “repeated attacks”, Burundi calls Rwanda’s actions as “disrespect”.

“Burundi brings to the attention of the International Community the fact that if nothing is done, such acts by Rwanda against Burundi constitutes a threat to peace and security of the entire Great Lakes Region,” says the statement, in Kirundi.

Burundi is also asking for intervention of the UN, African Union, the East African Community (EAC) and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).

In rare pile up of pressure on Rwanda, the Burundians say the Nov 16 attack was the ninth since 2015 when a failed foup tried to oust President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Rwanda denied Burundi's accusation of attacking one of the latter's military positions earlier this month.

"The Burundi government has the habit of accusing Rwanda to be responsible for anything that's going wrong in their country. The current accusations, as usual, are not supported by any evidence," Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta told BBC.

He said Burundi does not need to announce putting in place mechanisms to protect its people, as protecting its people is the responsibility of any government.

Since 2015, Burundi has repeatedly accused Rwanda of involvement in the 2015 coup. Rwanda has ignored Burundi’s accusations.

Since June 2017, a group calling itself FLN has been attacking southwestern regions of Rwanda. The group, according to court hearing of captured FLN spokesman Nsabinama Callixte alias Maj Sankara, was given passage by Burundi intelligence enroute from South Kivu, DRC.

President Kagame and President Nkurunziza last met on April 13, 2015, in Huye district in Rwanda. By holding the bilateral summit in Huye bordering Burundi, and not Kigali, it was first clear indication of deteriorating relations.

The following month while Nkurunziza was in Arusha, Tanzania for EAC summit, a coup got underway in Bujumbura. It failed and Nkurunziza returned the next day via land. He has never left the country ever since.