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'Real carnage': Dozens killed in attack on Burundi border village

Armed group crossing from DRC 'shot and burned' Buruni villagers, killing at least 26 and wounding seven, says official.

The Ruhagarika attack

At least 26 people have been killed and seven others wounded in an attack in northwest Burundi, according to officials.

The attack took place on Friday in the village of Ruhagarika in the province of Cibitoke, located near Burundi's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Speaking at the scene on Saturday, Security Minister Allain Guillaume Bunyoni told reporters that 24 people were killed in their homes on Friday night, while two others died of their wounds at a local hospital.

In a statement earlier in the day, Bunyoni said attackers came from the DRC and returned there after the assault.

They "shot and burned" people, he said, blaming the attack on a "terrorist group".

Witnesses said the violence began around 10:00pm (20:00 GMT) on Friday, when a group armed with guns and knives entered Ruhagarika, and began killing people and setting fire to buildings.

"These criminals went house to house and committed real carnage," a local official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP news agency.

He said he was "horrified" by the violence.

"Some of the victims were stabbed, others were shot, there is even a whole family that was burned alive in their home," the official added.

One survivor told The Associated Press the assailants hacked people with machetes and shot at or burned others.

She said her husband and two children were killed in the attack.

The violence came shortly before Burundians vote on May 17 in a controversial referendum that could extend presidential term limits.

The government has in recent weeks deployed soldiers to border areas after accusing exiled opposition groups of seeking to disrupt the vote. 

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