76 Die in Fighting in Burundi
Apr. 23, 1998
BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) _ The latest fighting in Burundi between Hutu rebels and the Tutsi-led army killed at least 76 people, including 29 civilians, officials said today.
Most of the civilians were women and children, said Stanislas Ntahobari, governor of rural Bujumbura, the area outside the capital where the fighting occurred Wednesday.
The army killed at least 47 rebels, Ntahobari said.
The figures were confirmed by military spokesman Lt. Co. Isaie Nibizi, who blamed the rebels for the deaths of civilians in the central African nation.
``These rebel terrorists benefit from the complicity of the population, the same population which later suffers,'' Nibizi said without elaborating.
The governor said some civilians offer sanctuary to rebels.
Nibizi did not say whether the army suffered casualties in the fighting, which lasted hours.
Rebels of the National Council for the Defense of Democracy took up arms in 1994, a year after Tutsi paratroopers killed Burundi's first democratically elected president, a Hutu.
Although they make up only 14 percent of Burundi's 6 million people, the Tutsis have run the army and the economy since independence from Belgium in 1962. Hutus make up 85 percent.
An estimated 200,000 people have died in fighting since 1993.