Eight people injured in grenade attack in northern Bujumbura

Residents of Kamenge say they are perplexed by the escalating violence in their area.

Kamenge area chief, Espérence Hakizimana says she was inside her home with her guests when the attack occurred.

Kamenge area chief, Espérence Hakizimana says she was inside her home with her guests when the attack occurred.

At least eight people were injured in a grenade explosion on Saturday evening in Kamenge area, northern Bujumbura, police source says.

The grenade exploded in front of the home of Kamenge area chief, Espérence Hakizimana. People who were nearby say the incident occurred around 7:30 p.m.

“A disabled woman, who was selling grilled maize and her child were among the injured”, says Béatrice Nibogora, a grilled maize vendor.

She says another victim was a woman living opposite the area chief’s home. She was selling fruits. Other victims were passers-by, according to multiple reports.

The wounded were reportedly evacuated to hospital run by Doctors without Borders in Kigobe.

Hakizimana, the area chief, says she was the target of the attack she alleges was politically motivated. “Given the current context, there is no doubt I was targeted for being a member of the ruling Cndd-Fdd party”, she says.

Pieces of shrapnel broke her guests’ car windscreen and hit the metal front gate.

Witnesses say they could not identify the culprit because of darkness and panic. André Ntahomvukiye says he was buying cigarettes at a kiosk very near the chief’s home. “When I heard the explosion, I ran home leaving my money and the cigarettes behind. I came back to see what had happened later”, he says.

The police say the attacker is still “unidentified”. Perpetrators of similar crimes that have undermined the relative calm in the area over the last weeks have remained unidentified. Kamenge had been spared from the unrest that has rocked other parts of Bujumbura from 2015.

The incident was a third grenade attack from late April. A father was fatally injured in one gruesome attack that targeted him and his entire family in the car.

Another man was shot dead as he went back home in the evening of 4 May. Residents say the culprits are youth from the area. The mayor of Bujumbura, Freddy Mbonimpa, made the same remark in a security meeting he held on 5 May with administrative and security officials in Kamenge.