NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) _ Burundian troops and armed opposition groups have killed hundreds of unarmed civilians with almost complete impunity, Amnesty International said Tuesday.
The Tutsi-dominated army and Hutu militias in this central African nation have been embroiled in a simmering war since the country’s first democratically elected president, a Hutu, was assassinated by Tutsi paratroopers in 1993.
A report released Tuesday by the human rights group cited hundreds of killings of civilians between November 1998 and March 1999.
In all, more than 200,000 people have been killed in the long-running conflict, most of them civilians.
``Burundi’s human rights crisis will continue unless both the military and armed opposition groups are held to account for their abuses and learn to respect human rights,″ the group said.
Much of the report detailed violence attributed to members of the armed forces.
Government forces ``deliberately killed″ at least 600 unarmed civilians in rural Bujumbura province, Amnesty said.
``The army’s prime response to activity by Hutu-dominated armed opposition groups appears to be indiscriminate reprisal killings,″ the group said.
The report’s release came amid heightened military activity by both sides around the capital, Bujumbura.
Hutu villagers said government soldiers on Aug. 10 killed 147 people, mostly children, in the villages of Ntovumo and Gacanjishi, just south of Bujumbura. The villagers spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for their safety.