By SOS Media Burundi
Several grenade explosions Tuesday targeted bus parkings in Burundi’s economic capital Bujumbura.
A large number of victims were evacuated to hospitals in the city.
SOS Médias Burundi reports that at least four grenades exploded at around 7pm in the bus park, in the town center serving the southern districts of the city.
The attackers also targeted car parks near the Cotebu market (north), the “Permanence” parking between the Bwiza and Buyenzi zones (center), and a market of street vendors in the hyper-center, according to witnesses
“I saw several people fall down. There were many people at the time of the explosion. They were waiting for their buses. They were running in all directions,” said a woman seen near the Regina Mundi cathedral.
At the Cotebu parking, the grenade exploded as people were getting on bus, witnesses said.
At the Permanence, several injured people were rushed to the Prince Regent Charles hospital by the emergency services.
The hospital is near the scene of the attack.
“I saw many injured people, at arms. They were evacuated by survivors,” said a resident of the Bwiza zone.
Two reporters of the SOS Médias Burundi found children among the victims.
“An ambulance and a police vehicle helped to evacuate injured people,” they said.
In the city center, a market of street fruit sellers (not far from the parking of the old central market, destroyed in January 2013) was also targeted by an explosion.
In 2015, about 20 people had lost their lives in grenade attacks there.
“People are running around. You can only hear sirens from everywhere,” an employee of Bonesha FM radio described to SOS Médias Burundi.
“The city center has been emptied of people. We are in a ghost town. There are no buses or cabs; no one stops, it’s panic”, explains a local journalist blocked by the police and therefore unable to approach the site of the explosion in central Bujumbura.
People were arrested, according to our sources. Most of them were in cafés, restaurants and bars near the scene of the explosion.
“The riot police with elements of the API (Support Unit for the Institution Protection ) are scouring the city. They are supported by soldiers from the army headquarters and police officers from the GMIR ( Mobile Brigade for Rapid Intervention ),” a reporter sent by SOS Médias Burundi said.
Unconfirmed sources speak of at least two deaths in the center of Bujumbura and dozens of injuries in the three car parks and markets targeted.
Mail & Guardian author Thierry Uwamahoro reports atleast 4 people dead.
For the time being, neither the Bujumbura city center nor the police are communicating on the casualties of the grenade attacks.