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Burundi: Grenade attack kills eight in Kayanza province July 9

Unidentified assailants launch grenade attack on pub in Garatara commune, Kayanza province (central-north Burundi) July 9; eight reported dead and 50 injured

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/7/2017, 12h00 until 13/7/2017, 11h59 (Africa/Bujumbura). COUNTRY/REGION Burundi

Event

Unidentified armed assailants reportedly carried out a grenade attack on a pub located in the village of Shinya (Garatara commune), located in the center-north province of Kayanza on Sunday, July 9 at approximately 18:30 (local time).  Eight people were killed and 50 others injured in the attack. An investigation is currently ongoing to determine the identities and motivation of the perpetrators.

Context

On June 23, the United States Department of State issued a warning to citizens regarding underlying risks associated with travel to Burundi due to political tensions, political and criminal violence, and the potential for civil unrest. Due to security concerns, the US government restricts diplomatic travel in certain areas of Burundi, including nighttime travel outside of the capital Bujumbura and trips to the Bujumbura neighborhoods of Cibitoke, Gasenyi, Kamenge, Kinama, Musaga, Mutakura, and Ngagara.

Political violence persists throughout Burundi in the aftermath of the country's contested July 2015 elections. Gunfire and grenade attacks by armed groups occur on a regular basis. Furthermore, a number of political opposition parties, human rights organizations, and international NGOs have voiced concerns over the continuation of political violence against the opposition in recent months. Security forces and members of the youth wing of the ruling party Imbonerakure are accused of targeting opponents in violent attacks. The situation remains worrisome, particularly in Bujumbura, where the chance of politically motivated outbreaks of violence remains.

Advice

Individuals present in Burundi should avoid public gatherings, especially those with no visible security presence, and are advised to maintain a high level of vigilance at all times in crowded places such as churches, markets, cafes, and bus stations. Common flashpoints where violence more frequently takes place should be avoided, including Bujumbura's Cibitoke, Jabe, Kamenge, Kanyosha, Kinama, Musaga, Mutakura, Ngagara, and Nyakabiga neighborhoods, and Bujumbura Rural province.

More generally, individuals in Burundi are advised to adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.  Avoid traveling by foot after nightfall, only keep small amounts of cash on hand, and, if driving, park in a secured parking lot close to their destination. Drive with doors locked, windows rolled up, and with all valuables hidden from sight. Keep your phone charged and with you at all times.

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