January 06, 1998

More Than 15,000 People Flee the Area

Brussels/New York, January 7, 1998 — Early yesterday morning, the village of Maramvya, north of Bujumbura, Burundi, came under attack. Health and feeding centers were attacked and partly damaged, and more than 15,000 people fled toward Kinama in Bujumbura, and then to Mubone. There were already 3,000 displaced persons from Rukaramu taking shelter in Maramvya following a recent attack on their own village.

After the attack, Maramvya was in a state of shock and almost completely deserted. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) was able to evacuate to Bujumbura 27 severely malnourished and 20 wounded displaced persons from Rukaramu who were unable to flee this most recent attack.

Official figures for the attack on Rukaramu on January 1 were 211 dead and 200 wounded. Among the wounded being cared for by MSF are 11 children under age five, 44 women, and 27 men. Ninety percent of them had wounds produced by crude weapons (machetes, knives, and wooden clubs reinforced with metal). The others were wounded by bullets and explosives and include 22 who are severely wounded.

MSF has taken medical responsibility for another 7,000 people who fled from the fighting in Rukaramu and are now staying in a holiday center on Lake Tanganyika.

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