Baratuza «There are no real Burundian soldiers in Kiliba”

The government has denied media reports of confrontations between soldiers of Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), one of Burundi’s neighbours, in the west of Burundi. The two countries maintain good relations, said Gaspard Baratuza, spokesman for Burundi’s National Defense ministry, on 29 December.

Gaspard Baratuza «Burundi and DRC maintain good relations".

Gaspard Baratuza «Burundi and DRC maintain good relations”.

According to RFI, at least five Burundian soldiers have been killed in the east of DRC. “These five men had crossed the border in search of an armed group. This happened on Wednesday 21 December. Their presence led to fighting with the Congolese security forces”, RFI said.

“There has been information spread by some media and social networks according to which, the shootings heard in DRC, kiliba locality, on 21 December were about confrontations between Burundian and Congolese army. This was a lie”, says Baratuza, refuting the media report.

“The Ministry of National Defense of Burundi wishes to point out that Burundi and the DRC have good diplomatic relations. The command of the first military legion always exchange information with that of DRC.» Baratuza says.

Christian Bigirimana, a Burundian journalist wanted to know who was fighting during the confrontations. Baratuza said that the events in Kiliba were consequences of the putsch attempt of 13 May 2015. “After the putsch attempt, some of the putschists who were not arrested escaped towards DRC, others to Belgium. They took with them Burundian army uniform, which is why they confuse people”, says Baratuza. There are no real Burundian soldiers in Congo, Baratuza said.

Baratuza explained how the confrontations happened. “The DRC army asked the Burundian command of the first military legion if they had sent their soldiers there. When the Burundian command said no, DRC army acted in accordance with that information”, Baratuza says.