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Africa

2003-11-11

AFRICA/BURUNDI - BOMBED BUJUMBURA NOW FEARS VAST SCALE OFFENSIVE BY HUTU WARRIORS ENCIRCLING CAPITAL

Bujumbura (Fides Service)- “There is an atmosphere of unreal calm in the city charged with tension ” local Church sources in the Burundian capital Bujumbura tell Fides after a night of heavy bombing of north eastern city districts. Buildings hit include the Chinese embassy not far from the Presidential Residence which however suffered no damage. Fides sources say at least five people are feared dead and several more injured.
“The Hutu National Liberation Forces (FNL) is responsible. For several years it has complete control of the area around the capital” Fides sources report. “From that position it is easy to shell most parts of Bujumbura”.
FNL is the second Hutu force after the Forces for the Defence of Democracy (FDD), which reached a peace agreement with the government.
“Unfortunately the FNL’s attitude towards the government is totally negative. Its Hutu leaders refuse to dialogue with the national unity executive, they say the only ones they will negotiate with are the men they consider the real leaders, regular Tutsi army officers” Fides sources report. “One of the FNL requests is the re-distribution of land property around Bujumbura mainly in the hands of Tutsi”.
Our sources in Bujumbura say there is growing fear of a vast scale FNL attack, like the one this Summer which destroyed several districts of the city.
In the meantime a high level FDD delegation was accompanied by the vice president of Burundi Jacob Zuma on a visit to the country to prepare for the official return to Burundi of the movement’s leadership. FDD has stopped fighting and become a political party and will be part of the national unity government. (L.M.) (Fides Service 11/11/2003 lines 29 words 344)

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