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Burundians condemn deadly attack ahead of controversial constitutional referendum

Burundians have condemned an attack that killed dozens and injured several others in Burundi’s north western province of Cibitoke, bordering Democratic Republic of Congo late on Friday.

At least 26 people were killed after armed attackers believed to have crossed from the DR Congo went house to house with guns and knives, burning homes according to witnesses.

Witnesses said the attackers were around 20 and nearly all of them were in military uniforms.

“In such a situation, it is difficult to find words because it is painful. But first, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the families affected, on behalf of the Burundian government and between the different parties,” said Alain Guilaume Bunyoni, the country’s security minister.

The attack came less than a week ahead of Burundi’s controversial constitutional referendum on May 17.

Reports say the attack may have been an attempt to disrupt next week’s referendum which could extend President Pierre Nkurunziza’s term until 2034.

Burundi was plunged into crisis in April 2015 when President Nkurunziza said he planned to run for a third term, which the opposition said was unconstitutional and violated a peace deal that had ended the country’s civil war in 2005.

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