A shell fired by rebel National Liberation Forces has struck the Holy See nunciature during an attack on Burundi's national capital of Bujumbura.
AFP reports that the rebels fired a dozen shells at Bujumbura overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, hitting the residence of the Vatican's ambassador, an army spokesman said.
The attack by the National Liberation Forces (FNL), the third in less than a week, came the day after the Burundian military bombed rebel strongholds north of the capital.
There was no immediate casualty count from the overnight shelling, but at least 33 people have died since the FNL began an offensive on April 15.
"The FNL fired around a dozen shells for three hours up to midnight on Tuesday evening from the hills overlooking Bujumbura. We don't yet have a toll for this new attack," said army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Adolphe Manirakiza.
"One of the shells fell on the building of the nunciature (the office of the Holy See's envoy to Burundi), but there were no casualties, although the building was damaged," an anonymous Western diplomat in the capital told AFP.
"The nuncio has already returned to his residence above the mission," the source added.
According to military sources, the nunciature was hit by a Katyusha rocket. The FNL rebels were uncontactable Wednesday morning, AFP says.
On Sunday the United Nations postponed a planned peace mission to Burundi in the wake of recent clashes, although it gave no official reason for the delay.
In September 2006, three years after a civil war that claimed 300,000 lives, the FNL signed a second peace deal with newly elected authorities, but it has yet to be implemented.
Burundi rebels shell capital, hitting Vatican embassy (AFP, 23/4/08)