Not less than 87 people were found dead in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi on Saturday, a day after the government said an unidentified group carried out coordinated attacks on three military installations.
Burundian army spokesman Colonel Gaspard Baratuza said eight security officers were among those killed during and after Friday’s attacks.
“The final toll of the attacks yesterday is 79 enemies killed, 45 captured and 97 weapons seized, and on our side eight soldiers and policemen were killed and 21 wounded,” Baratuza was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.
A climate of fear has engulfed Bujumbura after the sound of battle could be heard throughout Friday and sporadic gunfire overnight. Residents hid in their houses leaving only security personnel patrolling the streets.
An eyewitness told The Associated Press he counted 21 bodies with bullet wounds in their heads in the Nyakabiga neighbourhood on Saturday morning.
Some of the dead had their hands tied behind their backs.
Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said there were “no collateral victims” during Friday’s clashes.
At least 240 people have been killed since April and about 215,000 others have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations.
The violence is linked to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term in office, which many Burundians and foreign observers had opposed as unconstitutional and in violation of a peace accord. The treaty ended a civil war in which 300,000 people were killed between 1993 and 2006.
Several hundred people have also been imprisoned for opposing Nkurunziza’s re-election in July this year.