Grenade Attacks in Bujumbura: Burundi Points Fingers at Rwanda and RED Tabara

On the night of Friday, May 10, 2024, Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, was shaken by multiple grenade attacks in various locations, causing significant unrest among the population. These events unfolded around midnight, with three grenades detonated near the former central market and bus stations leading to Mirango, Gasenyi, and Maramvya. The blasts resulted in long queues of bus passengers, already grappling with a fuel shortage, being thrown into chaos as they tried to find safe passage home.

According to Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Nkurikiye, spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, Security, and Public Development, the attacks injured approximately 35 people, though human rights advocates and some local journalists report at least four fatalities. During a press conference on Saturday morning, Nkurikiye identified the suspect in the grenade attacks as Venant Buhungu, who was apprehended with an additional undetonated grenade.

Nkurikiye further alleged that the Rwandan government supported these attacks by providing training and weapons to the perpetrators through the rebel group RED Tabara, an accusation that Rwanda has not yet responded to. RED Tabara, in a statement on their X account (formerly Twitter), denied these allegations, insisting that their operations do not target innocent civilians.

In response to the attacks, Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye expressed his condolences to the victims via his X account, labeling the incident as an act of terrorism and assuring the public that those responsible would be brought to justice. He emphasized the resilience of the Burundian people against terror and reassured them of their eventual triumph over such threats.

On the morning following the attacks, the sentiment among the locals was one of sorrow and outrage, as expressed in interviews with Voice of America. The populace called for thorough investigations and legal action against all parties involved. The uncertainty and fear of further violence lingered, with increased security presence in the city and heightened vigilance among the residents.

Casualties were significant, with over 25 people admitted to various hospitals, including the military hospital in Kamenge and the Prince Regent hospital, which had to suspend most of its operations to accommodate the influx of injured.