BUJUMBURA , Burundi, Dec. 11 (UPI) -- Rebels in Burundi attacked military installations surrounding the capital of Bujumbura on Friday, a sign opposition to the president is becoming a rebellion.
The coordinated assaults at dawn by heavily armed insurgents on military sites, security encampments and a prison left 12 rebels dead and 20 under arrest, an army spokesman said.
Burundi, a landlocked and poverty-stricken nation in East Africa, has suffered seven months of escalating violence and an attempted coup in May. The discord was provoked by President Pierre Nkrurunziza's third term in office, a violation of the constitution and an election in July many observers said was not credible.
The country has edged closer to a civil war, and the United Nations has counted 277 deaths since fighting began in April, with 280,000 fleeing their homes. A prior civil war, which ended in 2005, killed more than 300,000.
Protesters opposing the election have armed themselves, and it is unknown how many soldiers have deserted the army to fight alongside the rebels.
Friday's attacks comprise the worst violence Bujumbura has seen in months, and the first on military installations since April. The attacks occurred mostly in neighborhoods regarded as insurgent strongholds. Airlines have canceled flights in and out of the country because of a lack of airport personnel.