Fighting broke out between an unidentified group of armed men and police officers west of the capital Bujumbura on Sunday, February 23. Multiple confrontations between officers and gunmen occurred in Bujumbura Rural province, including in Isale and Nyabiraba districts. Police officials on Tuesday, February 25, confirmed the deaths of 22 suspected criminals in the fighting and six others were detained; two police officers also died in the fighting.
Similar police operations and engagements are possible in the region over the near term.
Local officials claim that the armed group was attempting to take advantage of the current electoral period leading up to elections on May 20. However, the National Freedom Council (CNL) opposition party claims that the February 23 incidents are linked to the recent arrest of 23 of their local leaders.
Individuals in Burundi, particularly Bujumbura, are advised to keep abreast of the situation, maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.