Burundi: Ex-army chief killed, 2nd military leader targeted

AP News
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Posted: Aug 15, 2015 1:38 PM

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — A former army chief was killed Saturday, a Burundi official said, the second military official to be assassinated this month in violence linked to the country's political unrest over President Pierre Nkurunziza's re-election to a third term.

Col. Jean Bikomagu was shot in his car and his daughter was wounded, said presidential spokesman Willy Nyamitwe.

"Another black weekend in Burundi. Blackened by the murder of a high-ranking member of the Burundian army in retirement ... Very sad, very shocking," Nyamitwe posted on Facebook.

Burundi has been rocked by violence since the April announcement that Nkurunziza would stand for another term. Nkurunziza won the elections following turmoil in which about 100 people died in months of street protests against the extension of the president's time in power. Weeks of turmoil in this Central African nation boiled over in mid-May with an attempted coup which was quickly put down by the army.

Recently officials from both the government and opposition have been targeted. Earlier this month Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana, the president's senior adviser on security matters, was killed when a rocket was fired at his car. Days later there was an attempt to assassinate a prominent human rights campaigner.

The U.N. human rights office warned Friday that Burundi is "slipping closer to the edge" as killings, arrests and detentions increase following last month's disputed re-election of Nkurunziza.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights agency, urged all sides in the East African nation "to resume dialogue before the situation spirals completely out of control."