Emotions ran high on Tuesday as 19 people killed in an attack last Friday in Gatumba, Mutimbuzi commune, Bujumbura province, on the Burundi-Congolese border, were laid to rest.
In the presence of the authorities, including the Minister of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security, deputies and senators, and the victims’ families, coffins containing the bodies of the victims arrived at the Gatumba Catholic parish in military and police vehicles.
A final tribute was paid. A large crowd had come to bid farewell to their parents, children and wives, who had been killed by gunmen on the night of December 22, 2023. Jostling to see the bodies of their deceased loved ones, many could not hold back their tears.
Afterwards, a requiem mass was held under the aegis of Monsignor Anatole Ruberinyange who stressed that “killing people” is by no means a solution to problems. Only dialogue can resolve conflicts.
“In any conflict, the answer is not to shed blood or take up arms. Killing is not a solution to problems. On the contrary, killers reap the curse” the prelate told the congregants the mass.
The attack in the locality of Vugizo claimed 19 civilian victims and one policeman, according to the Burundian government. It was claimed by the rebel group RED-Tabara (Resistance for the Rule of Law in Burundi) that has been battling Burundi’s government from bases in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since 2015.
It is the second attack in two weeks by the RED-Tabara rebels, who have been largely inactive inside Burundi since 2021.
In a press release issued on Saturday, December 23, the government condemned the attack as a despicable and barbaric act of terrorism.
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