Burundi: 6 killed in attack on Burundi army chief

13th Sep 2015
Burundi: 6 killed in attack on Burundi army chief

BUJUMBURA, (AA): A Burundian army spokesman on Saturday clarified the death toll from a Friday rocket attack on the country’s army chief-of-staff from which the latter escaped unharmed, saying three soldiers, two attackers and a civilian had been killed in the incident.

President Pierre Nkurunziza, meanwhile, has given police seven days to arrest those behind the assassination bid.

“The head of state gave police seven days to identify the perpetrators, be they inside or outside the country,” deputy presidential spokesman Louis Kamwenubusa said Saturday.

Speaking at a press conference held the same day, army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza said that those behind the assassination attempt sought “to destroy the cohesion of the national defense forces, [which are] the result of successful integration since 2005”.

Burundi’s current army was drawn up from former rebel fighters after the 2005 Arusha peace accords ended a years-long civil war that left more than 300,000 people dead.

Army Chief-of-Staff Gen. Prime Niyongabo escaped Friday’s attack, which took place at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) as he was on his way to his office, Godefroid Bizimana, deputy director-general of the Burundian police, told Anadolu Agency.

Following the incident, the authorities blocked traffic on the road linking capital Bujumbura to Tanzania via Makamba and Rumonge in the country’s south.

Since a controversial presidential poll in July, Burundi has witnessed a spate of violent attacks — on both government officials and opposition figures — sparking fears of a wider political conflict.

Only one week after President Nkurunziza won a third term in office, Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana — the country’s powerful spy chief and a Nkurunziza ally — was killed in the capital.

And in mid-August, Col. Jean Bikomagu, a former army chief-of-staff, was killed in his home by unidentified attackers.

According to local NGOs, at least 150 people — mostly opposition politicians but also Nkurunziza supporters — have been killed amid political turbulence that began in April when Nkurunziza announced plans to run for a third presidential term.

Author: Hatice Kesgin
[Photo: Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has given police seven days to arrest those behind the assassination bid. Photographer: Renovat Ndabashinze/Anadolu Agency]

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