The Red Cross has confirmed six people had died including civilians and policemen, and another 12 injured people had been evacuated to nearby hospitals, following the raid on the district of Mutakura – not 20 as previously claimed.

Police also told Al Jazeera they had collected 8 kalashnikovs, 332 bullets and 15 grenades in the raids.


Up to 20 people have died after an alleged police raid on civilian homes turned violent in parts of Burundi's capital Bujumbura on the day President Pierre Nkurunziza led the country's 53rd Independence Day celebrations.

Around 2.30pm GMT, reports coming out of Mutakura and Cibitoke indicated that officers had forced their way into the commune, as local sources described being "surrounded" by the police.

Around 20 killed

A source in Mutakura -- a district known for having been the stage of some of the protests against the president's contested third term -- confirmed "around 20 people" had been found dead including civilians and officers after police entered homes in an apparent raid, prompting many residents to flee.

Sources told IBTimes UK how a family was killed including the father Gérard Kanderenge and his two children after policemen entered his home in Mutakura. The man's house was burned down.

"What is happening in Mutakura is very serious: police are firing with automatic guns, with grenades and officers go from house to house. Police are targeting the homes of people who they think are linked to the demonstrations. They shoot people," one source said.

"[The police] is already targeting many people, killing them. I am staying near the walls of my house, because bullets are flying around," Celestin (not his real name), a Mutakura resident said. "They are killing people I know."

"I saw some leave with their luggage," another source in the district added.

Nkurunziza, meanwhile, reviewed troops and watched paratroopers land in the semi-deserted Prince Louis Rwagasore Stadium as he led the day's festivities.

Policemen killed

Sources said a policeman had been killed in his area following heavy gunfire.

"I heard a lot of gunfire this morning. Police started firing on civilians in Mutakura. But after gunshots waned I left my house and saw a dead policeman laying on the ground," a source told IBTimes UK over the phone. "But then things started heating up again so we had to leave."

Witnesses also described how a Croix Rouge (Red Cross) ambulance was turned away by police officers after it was called to treat injured people in Mutakura.

A source within the Croix Rouge in Bujumbura confirmed the aid agency had rescued 12 injured in Mutakura and that Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, MSF) had also transported "a number of injured civilians" from the area to hospital.

"We cannot confirm the number of deaths because we were not allowed in the neighbourhoods," the source said.

A local reporter also confirmed that civilians were asking journalists to remain in Mutakura -- after police asked reporters to leave -- for fear of reprisals by the police.

Dozens 'taken' by police

Another source, who wished to remain anonymous, told IBTimes UK how one of his close friends had just been arrested in his home and "taken" by officers.

"He's a young man living in Mutakura, so police believe he has to be a protester. They are going everywhere in people's homes to see if it's possible for them to find arms," Jean Pascal (not his real name), a local resident told IBTimes UK from his home.

Later reports claim police officers have now left Mutakura and been replaced by army troops.

Residents have also started venturing out in the streets again and are trying to evaluate the damage.

The neighbourhood's 8th Avenue has been blocked with barricades.

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