At least 26 people were killed and seven others wounded in an attack in a rural area of Burundi, the country’s security minister said on Saturday, calling it the work of a “terrorist group” that he did not identify. The minister, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, told reporters that 24 people had been killed in their homes Friday night and that two others had died of their wounds at a hospital.
He gave no further details about the attack, which occurred in the Ruhagarika community of the rural northwestern province of Cibitoke. The attack came shortly before Burundians were scheduled to vote, on Wednesday, in a controversial referendum that could extend the presidential term of office. It was not immediately clear if the attack was related.
One survivor said in an interview that the assailants had arrived around 10 p.m. local time, attacking households and setting houses on fire. Some victims were hacked with machetes and others were shot or burned alive, she said. Her husband and two children were killed, she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because she feared for her safety.