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Number of Deaths in Burundi Church Attack Updated to 70

September 11, 1994| From Reuters

BUJUMBURA, Burundi — At least 70 people were killed in an attack a week ago on a Roman Catholic church in Burundi as ethnic violence continued to escalate, the Red Cross said Saturday.

"People are being killed here almost every day now," said Daniel Philippin, chief of delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Bujumbura, the capital.

He said details of last Sunday's attack during a baptismal Mass at the church at Buhinyuza commune in the northeastern province of Muyinga were filtering out and it was now known that of the 70 dead, 60 were women and children.

He said it was not clear who was responsible. Previous official reports on the incident spoke of nine dead.

Burundi has the same ethnic mix of Hutus and Tutsis as neighboring Rwanda, which has gone through one of the worst tribal bloodlettings in history, with possibly more than a million Tutsis and moderate Hutus massacred by militant Hutus.

Other aid workers with operations in the north of the country said the church attack followed the replacement of the former bishop, a member of the Tutsi minority that ruled the country for three decades until last year, with a Hutu bishop.

The bishop has told reporters that the victims were both Tutsis and Hutus but that the majority were Hutus.

The new details on the massacre came after state radio said three people had died of injuries suffered in a grenade attack on the crowded central market in the capital at midday Friday. At least 76 people were wounded.

Diplomats and aid workers say the grenade has become the weapon of choice in attacks throughout the tense central African country. Seven people were wounded in a similar attack on the market a month ago.

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