, BUJUMBURA, Dec 24 – Burundi\’s security minister said Friday that threats by Somalia\’s Islamist insurgents remained high in the country after several attempts to carry out attacks were recently foiled.
The small central African state has deployed some 3,500 soldiers to Somalia for the African Union force protecting the country\’s embattled Western-backed government.
"The threat is very high," said Alain Guillaume Bunyoni. "We urge the population to be vigilant and and report any suspicious strangers."
"We have already foiled several serious attempted attacks and arrested several suspects," Bunyoni said, without elaborating.
The East African states of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are on alert over heightened Islamist threats during the festive season after a Tanzanian man detonated a grenade Monday on a Kampala-bound bus in Nairobi.
No one has claimed responsibility for the blast. Kenya and Uganda have ramped up security while Tanzania urged its citizens to be vigilant.
Uganda in July suffered the region\’s worst attacks when suicide bombers struck two Kampala bars packed with crowds watching the World Cup final, killing 76 people.