Burundian soldiers ambushed Hutu rebels and killed 15 of them as they tried to cross into neighboring Congo, an army spokesman said Tuesday. The soldiers attacked the rebels in the northwestern province of Cibitoke on Monday as 50 National Liberation Force fighters crossed the Rusizi River that lies between Burundi and Congo, army spokesman Maj. Adolphe Manirakiza.
Only one rebel was captured. Manirakiza said that no soldiers died in the ambush and the rest of the rebels either crossed into Congo or drowned though the army is yet to recover any bodies. There was no independent confirmation of the attack, nor were rebel officials available for comment.
On Sunday, rebels attacked a military checkpoint in the eastern Bujumbura Rural province, killing seven civilians and wounding 11 others, including 6 soldiers. One soldier later died of his injuries. The National Liberation Force is the only rebel group to hold out from a series of peace deals, which ended a 12-year war that killed 250,000 people, mostly civilians. The group has agreed to a cease-fire, which it has repeatedly violated.
Burundi's new government has pledged to enter into talks with the rebels, which will be mediated by Tanzania. Tanzania is in the middle of campaigns for presidential and parliamentary elections to be held Dec. 14 and talks will only take place after the new president is sworn-in on Dec. 21, reports the AP. N.U.