Burundi Accuses Rwanda Of Backing Rebel Group

The attack targeted nine homes in a western town along the border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo [Jerome Delay/AP]

Burundi’s President Evariste Ndayishimiye on Friday accused neighbouring Rwanda of backing rebels blamed for a string of attacks on his country’s soil, including a deadly raid a week ago.

Burundi said the RED-Tabara group carried out an attack on December 22 near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and killed 20 people including women and children.

“These armed groups have been provided with shelter, food, offices and money from the country that hosts them. I mean Rwanda,” Ndayishimiye said at an event in eastern Burundi broadcast by local media.

He vowed to fight the rebels “with all our energy”.

The Burundian leader’s claims were rejected by the Rwandan government and RED-Tabara.

The group, which has a base in the eastern DRC province of South Kivu, emerged in 2011 and is now the most active of Burundi’s rebel groups with an estimated force of between 500 and 800 fighters.

“I told Rwanda it should know that if it continues to help someone who kills children, it is cultivating the virus of hatred between the peoples of these two countries,” Ndayishimiye said.

He said Burundi had been trying in vain for two years to persuade Kigali to hand over the rebels so they can face justice.

“I think the future is bleak for this country that is helping them,” he added, without elaborating.

The government in Kigali denied the claims, saying in a statement sent to AFP: “Rwanda is not associated, in any way, with any Burundian armed group.”

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