At least 87 killed in latest Burundi violence

Story highlights

  • Clashes with the Burundi military began Friday
  • The military says four police officers and four soldiers are among the dead
  • International observers worry about a return to ethnic violence

(CNN)At least 87 people were killed in clashes with the Burundi military in the capital of Bujumbura that began a day earlier, an army representative said Saturday.

Four police officers and four soldiers were among the dead, while nine soldiers and 11 policemen were wounded, spokesman Gaspard Baratuza said.
    At least 45 people were arrested following the clashes.
    "The United States is deeply alarmed by the attacks that occurred overnight and continue in Bujumbura. We condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms, and we call on all sides to refrain immediately from violence," the U.S. State Department said in a statement.
    France also condemned the attacks and called on all parties in Burundi to choose dialogue and not violence to find an exit to the crisis, the French Foreign Ministry said.
    Burundi has seen months of chaos as violence erupted after Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza announced a controversial run for a third term. The subsequent unrest has left scores dead and caused more than a 170,000 people to flee the country.
    In May, Nkurunziza held onto his office after a failed coup attempt by an army general while the President was in Tanzania.
    Tensions in the small East African nation, roughly the size of Belgium, have mounted in recent months. The international community, United Nations and several high-profile nongovernmental organizations have expressed fear that the country could degenerate into an ethnic conflict between Hutus and Tutsis.
    During Burundi's 12-year civil war, which ended in 2005, a Hutu majority fought as rebels against the Tutsi-led army. Around 300,000 people were killed.