Four civilians killed as FNL rebels shell Bujumbura

Four civilians were killed, five wounded and the Chinese ambassador's home damaged by a rocket when Forces nationales de liberation (FNL) rebels loyal to Agathon Rwasa shelled the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, on Sunday, the mayor of Bujumbura told IRIN.

"FNL rebels who were armed with rockets and grenades attacked the city's northern and eastern suburbs last night, killing four people, injuring five others and burning houses," Pontien Niyongabo, the mayor, said on Monday.

He said the dead were a man, a woman and two boys. They died in separate incidents when the rebels struck Kamenge zone, in the north of the city.

Niyongabo said the man died and five people were wounded when the rebels launched rockets into the residential suburb of Kiriri, to the east of the city, which also damaged the home of the Chinese ambassador. Another rocket fell on the home of the US military attache, damaging a vehicle.

"The FNL claimed the attack, saying it was its way of making the group understood," he said.

Last week, the Burundian army and the Conseil national pour la defense de la democratie-Forces pour la defense de la democratie (CNDD-FDD) faction led by Pierre Nkurunziza deployed troops in Bujumbura Rural Province, an FNL stronghold, where four FNL supporters were killed and many homes burnt.

FNL spokesman Pasteur Habimana told IRIN on Monday that since the signing of a power sharing agreement between the government and the CNDD-FDD on 8 October, the army and CNDD-FDD had decided to chase the FNL out of Bujumbura Rural.

"We have urged diplomats to tell them to stop this, but in vain. So, as we do not have other ways of expression, we decided to shell the capital, maybe now people will understand us," he said.

On Sunday, four people were killed and seven wounded at Isale Commune in Bujumbura Rural in a military operation targeting the FNL.

Thousands of people have been displaced in the last two weeks in Bujumbura Rural, following fighting between the army and FNL rebels and between the CNDD-FDD and the FNL.

In July 2003, FNL rebels loyal to Rwasa launched an offensive against southern suburbs of Bujumbura, where hundreds of people were killed and thousands displaced.

Rwasa's faction is the only one of four others that has refused to enter peace negotiations with the government.

In May, two smaller factions, the CNDD-FDD led by Jean Bosco Ndayikengurukiye and the FNL faction led by Alain Mugabarabona joined transitional government, which was set up on November 2001, under the Arusha 2000 Accord for Peace and Reconciliation.

Nkurunziza's faction is expected to join the government by 23 November.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

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