BURUNDI: 440 civilians reported killed in recent fighting in
NAIROBI, 4 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - An independent radio station in
Burundi, African Public Radio, reported on Thursday that around
440 civilians have been killed in fighting in the eastern province
of Ruyigi since January.
The radio, which has an office in Ruyigi, said the civilians died in
fighting between the rebel CNDD-FDD (National Council for the
Defence of Democracy-Forces for the Defence of Democracy)
and government troops in Gisuru commune in Ruyigi.
The report, based on survivors' testimonies and interviews with
local officials, said hundreds of houses had been looted and
Ruyigi province, bordering Tanzania, has been the centre of
continued fighting between rebels and the army for a number of
months. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) has expressed concern at the deteriorating
humanitarian situation in the whole province.
Hundreds of people displaced by the fighting in the hills have
been sleeping rough in the bush, local officials have reported.
Humanitarian agencies say the Burundian army has prevented
them from delivering food and medicine to the displaced,
claiming the area is insecure.