The Burundian army killed 14 gunmen who had entered the country early Tuesday from neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, said a deputy spokesperson for Burundi’s security ministry.
Security forces killed the gunmen and seized their weapons following clashes in Bubanza province, about 112 kilometers (69 miles) from the capital Gitega, Moise Nkurunziza told reporters.
He added that the security forces were alerted by residents who had seen a group of around 18 armed criminals from DR Congo in Kayange village in Musigati district.
Local media said the armed group came from Rukoko forest bordering DR Congo and heavy gunfire was heard in the morning hours between the attackers and police.
The attackers were reported in Mpanda, Gihanga and Mitakataka villages before returning to Kibira National Park via the Musigati area.
The group reportedly abducted some people, most of whom were released later.
A Burundian rebel group that calls itself the Resistance to the Rule of Law in Burundi (RED-Tabara) based in DR Congo claimed responsibility for the attack on Twitter.
Burundian armed groups are said to maintain rear bases in DR Congo’s South Kivu area.
Burundi has witnessed deadly violence since 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza successfully sought a disputed third term in office.
In June, unidentified gunmen from Rukoko forest attacked Gihanga district in the same province and shot and injured five people, including two police officers.
In 2018, an armed group killed 26 people in northwest Burundi, according to the security ministry.
The government blamed “terrorists” from neighboring DR Congo for the attack.