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Burundi Civilians Reported Killed

November 6, 2001

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) _ Hutu rebels fighting the Tutsi-dominated army killed at least 24 civilians in a southern Burundian town, a government official said Tuesday.

The killings took place in the town of Munini, about 50 miles south of the capital, Bujumbura, said Andre Ngayizamba, governor of southern Bururi province. He refused to give further details.

Jerome Ndiho, a spokesman for the Hutu rebel group active in southern Burundi, said the rebels had attacked army positions in the area, but no civilians had been killed.

Ndiho said he had no details about rebel or army casualties.

Fighting between the rebels and the army in southern Burundi has intensified since the Nov. 1 inauguration of a transitional government that is supposed to implement a peace accord aimed at ending the central African country’s eight-year civil war.

At least 11 people were killed Monday when rebels ambushed their vehicles while they were traveling near Munini, the state-run news agency has said.

The peace accord, calling for an ethnically balanced army and legislature, was signed in August 2000 by President Pierre Buyoya’s government, the National Assembly and 17 political parties.

But the rebels have refused to take part in the peace process and have said their armed campaign will continue.

More than 200,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the conflict since it broke out in October 1993.

Although a minority, Tutsis have effectively ruled Burundi for all but a few months since independence from Belgium in 1962.

Hundreds of thousands have died in recurring cycles of ethnic violence driven by power struggles, attacks and reprisals since 1962.

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