April 21, 2008 / 5:48 PM / in 10 years

Seven killed in Burundi fighting, army says

BUJUMBURA, April 21 (Reuters) - Six rebels and a soldier died on Monday in further fighting between Burundi's government and rebels that is undermining the central African nation's peace process, the military said.

The clash, about 12 miles (20 km) outside the capital Bujumbura, took the death toll from fighting between government troops and the Forces for National Liberation (FNL) to at least 33 in the last five days.

"We surprised FNL fighters stealing from the civil population and they opened fire on our troops. Our troops fired back," said military spokesman Colonel Adolphe Manirakiza.

Burundi, a coffee-growing country of 8 million, is emerging from more than a decade of ethnic conflict in which 300,000 people were killed.

Despite a 2006 truce, the FNL mounts sporadic attacks against the military from its strongholds on the outskirts of the capital.

Implementation of the U.N.-brokered peace process stalled when the FNL quit a truce monitoring team last year, accusing mediators of bias.

(Reporting by Patrick Nduwimana)

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/)

(nairobi.newsroom@reuters.com; +254 20 222 4717)

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