At least 12 people, including a senior army officer, were killed and several others wounded in a roadside ambush in central Burundi, administrative and medical sources said on Monday.
Police said late Sunday that eight people were killed when bandits set upon four vehicles near Muramvya, a provincial capital about 50 kilometers (31 miles) northeast of the main city of Bujumbura.
But residents and official government and hospital sources told AFP the real toll was higher, and that a child was among the dead.
“Ten people were killed on the spot and two others, including a little girl, succumbed to their injuries,” an administrative source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
A medical official, also requesting anonymity, said “there were 11 bodies in the Muramvya morgue” while a twelfth victim was in Bujumbura after being transferred to a hospital there.
President Evariste Ndayishimiye said those responsible must be brought to justice. “We are saddened to see Burundi once again lose its children to bandits,” he said on Twitter.
Turababajwe n'abambuzi baraye basubiye guhekura u #Burundi. Ibigeragezo ntibizoreka kubaho ariko aragowe uwo bizovako. Abagizi ba nabi bose bategerezwa gutuzwa. Turaremesheje imiryango yabuze.
— SE Evariste Ndayishimiye (@GeneralNeva) May 10, 2021
A Burundian army officer, Colonel Onesphore Nizigiyimana, and one of his daughters were among the victims, according to the administrative source, and relatives of the victim.
The colonel was returning from a family celebration with his wife and three daughters when a dozen heavily-armed men attacked their vehicle, setting it ablaze, the source said. “The colonel and one of his daughters were burned to death in their car.”
Three other vehicles that came across the scene, including a bus, were also fired upon by bandits using guns and grenades.
“People are in shock, because it was a real military operation,” one Muramvya resident told AFP, saying the group vanished into a nearby forest after taking what they could.
Seven people were killed in April in Rusaka, a town in the neighboring province of Mwaro, in an attack on a bar police also attributed to armed bandits.
At least a dozen people were killed in late 2020 in similar armed attacks in Burundi, a small, landlocked nation of some 11 million people.