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Burundi: Help for the victims of attack on Gatumba refugee camp

16-08-2004 News Release 04/96

Bujumbura (15 August 2004) – During the night from 13th to 14th August, the Gatumba refugee camp in Bujumbura rural province, near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, was attacked. At least 150 persons were reported killed in the attack, and at least 100 were wounded including many women and children.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) condemns this attack on the civilian population, which, according to the rules of international humanitarian law, must not be targeted. The ICRC calls attention to the fact that all direct or indiscriminate attacks against the civilian population are prohibited, as are acts of retaliation.

Confronted with the influx of wounded persons, the ICRC, working in coordination with the Ministry of Health and other humanitarian organisations, immediately provided drugs, surgical materials and blankets to the Prince Régent Charles Hospital and to the Prince Louis Rwagasore clinic in order to ensure treatment for about 60 victims currently hospitalised.

The ICRC also used tanker trucks to provide drinking water for the refugees who were transferred to a school near the refugee camp.

At Gatumba camp, the ICRC provided body bags while volunteers of the Burundi Red Cross Society helped to collect the remains of the victims.

The ICRC continues to closely follow the situation at Gatumba camp as well as the situation of the wounded treated in the hospitals of Bujumbura. 

 For further information please contact:  

 Elizabeth Twinch or Andrea Pontiroli, , ICRC Bujumbura, tel. ++257 21 28 65 or 21 29 08  

 Marco Jimenez Rodriguez, ICRC Geneva, tel. ++41 22 730 22 71