Controversy Arises Following a New Deadly Attack Claimed by RED-Tabara Rebellion in Burundi

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Nine individuals were killed in western Burundi, as announced by the government on Monday, in an attack claimed by the rebel group RED-Tabara, which asserted to have killed six security force members. This second attack in the area within two months raises questions about the security apparatus established by Burundian authorities over the past year, centered around its military intervention in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

In Burundi, controversy ensues following an attack claimed by the RED-Tabara rebellion in Buringa, a commune near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), located barely ten kilometers north of Bujumbura.

The government condemned it as a “terrorist attack,” accusing the rebels of killing nine individuals, almost all civilians, whereas the rebels themselves claim to have attacked two army positions and killed six soldiers.

Beyond the controversy, this second attack in the area within two months calls into question the security apparatus implemented by Burundian authorities over the past year, centered around its military intervention in the eastern DRC.
Eyewitnesses and security sources assert that the attack was carried out by dozens of heavily armed assailants in uniforms resembling those of the Burundian army, originating from the neighboring DRC.

RED-Tabara fighters reportedly disappeared into the swamps of Rukoko, along the Rusizi River separating the two countries, after their strike. This area is nearly impenetrable due to its dense vegetation.

The issue lies in the fact that this attack occurred barely three months after the Burundian government claimed to have pushed RED-Tabara at least five days’ march away from its border, following a year of military operations in the middle and high plateaus overlooking Uvira and Fizi, in South Kivu. This relentless pursuit, according to Gitega, was said to have significantly weakened the main Burundian rebellion.

The Burundian army (FNDB) subsequently established a double barrier: two battalions in the mountains of South Kivu, on the DRC side, and one battalion in the Rukoko swamps on the Burundian side, intended to safeguard the national territory from any further attacks. However, this security measure was challenged two months ago when RED-Tabara attacked the village of Vugizo, barely 5 kilometers from Buringa, the site of the recent rebel incursion.

According to Gitega, now the primary military ally of Kinshasa, RED-Tabara rebels allegedly received multifaceted support from Rwanda, a claim consistently denied by Kigali.


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