By Jean Gatera
The Rwandan army has today (Saturday 27 June) morning repulsed an armed attack from the Burundian direction, killing four of the attackers and scattering the others who fled back into Burundi.
According to a Rwandan Ministry of Defense press statement, the attack took place “at around 0020 hours, on an RDF defensive position in the Ruheru Sector of Nyaruguru District, Southern Province.” The statement says the unidentified gunmen crossed from Burundi and attacked the RDF defensive position, adding that the RDF then engaged the attackers.
“They fled back in the same direction, leaving behind four of their dead and various military equipment that include weapons and communication radios. Three of our soldiers sustained minor injuries,” said Military Spokesperson, Lt Col Innocent Munyengango. “We reassure Rwandans that action will be taken against those responsible,” he added.
According to the army statement, the attackers’ intention was to harm people inside Yanze IDP Model Village, “which is protected by the attached RDF position located just one kilometer from the border.” The attacking force, Munyengango says, “originated, and retreated back to Burundi, through Burundi Defense Force position at Gihisi in Bukinanyana Commune, Cibitoke Province.”
Furthermore, according to the Rwandan army communication, the attackers left behind dry rations marked: “FORCE DE DEFENSE NATIONALE DE BURUNDI” (Burundi Armed Forces). Three of the attackers were also captured.
A security analyst observed: “Rwandan armed terrorist groups in Burundi have mourned Nkurunziza, and marked his burial by attacking Rwanda!” The attack occurred a few hours after the burial of deceased Burundian leader Pierre Nkurunziza who died of COVID-19 on 8th this month.
Anti-Rwanda terrorist groups operating from Burundi, such as FLN have in the past carried out a couple of attacks from the dense cross border forest Nyungwe (Kibira on the Burundian side), and fled back to the Burundi. According to UN reports, anti-Rwanda terror groups operating in Burundi enjoy the protection, and collaboration of Bujumbura. The UN Group of Experts Report of 31 December 2018 showed how Burundi has been a recruitment hub for the anti-Rwanda rebel groups, and a transit point for illegal arms trafficking for the likes of RNC, FDLR, FLN and others of the so-called “P5” grouping.
Cross border raids by terrorists from the Burundian direction have claimed up to nine lives and injured many more in recent years.
In December 2018 for instance, FLN terrorists attacked in Nyaruguru, looted shops, burnt a vehicle, killed two civilians and injured eight. The modus operandi was the same: attack a soft target and flee to Burundi through the dense forest. The Rwandan military reinforced patrols in the area to prevent future attacks on civilians.