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Burundi: Assistance for war-wounded in Bujumbura

10-07-2003 News Release 03/52

Bujumbura (ICRC) – In the early hours of 7 July, fierce clashes broke out in Bujumbura between the Burundian armed forces and the Forces for National Liberation, one of the two armed opposition movements in Burundi. Many people were killed and wounded in the fighting, which took place in the southern districts of the capital.

The exact toll has not been established yet since these districts are still prey to violence and remain inaccessible. On Wednesday and Thursday morning, the centre of town was also hit by mortar shells.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is seriously concerned about the humanitarian consequences of the fighting and it reminds all the parties to the conflict of their obligation to comply with the rules of international humanitarian law applicable to non-international armed conflicts.

According to official sources, the city's three main hospitals have so far admitted around

100 war-wounded. From the outset of the fighting, ICRC medical staff have been coordinating activities with Prince-Régent Charles Hospital, the Kamenge teaching hospital and Prince Louis Rwagasore Clinic. As of yesterday these facilities had already taken in

91 war-wounded.

Some hospitals have been receiving monthly assistance from the ICRC for several years now. To help them cope with the current influx of wounded, the ICRC immediately provided them with X-ray equipment and a sufficient number of surgical kits to care for 110 patients. Disinfectant, mattresses and blankets have been distributed as well.

Meanwhile, several thousand people have sought refuge from the fighting in the centre of town. Many of them have found shelter with relatives or friends and about 2,000 have gathered in a park. As part of the humanitarian action being carried out to help these displaced persons, the ICRC is providing drinking water, whi ch is being brought in by truck and stored in tanks.

 Further information:  

 Christophe Beney, ICRC Bujumbura, tel. ++ 257 21 28 65 or 21 29 08  

 Juan Martinez, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++ 41 79 217 32 17