Burundian police kill son of rights activist as violence escalates

2015-11-06 21:40
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Kigali - A fresh wave of political violence in Burundi has led to the death of a prominent human rights activist's son at the hands of police in the country's capital Bujumbura, a civil society organisation leader said on Friday.

Willy Nzitonda, whose father was a critic of President Pierre Nkurunziza, was killed in the Mutakura area, Forum for Awareness and Development head Pacifique Nininahazwe told dpa.

No further details were immediately available.

Nzitonda, who had been working for the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons, was arrested by police earlier this week.

His father, Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, was shot and wounded by unknown gunmen in August. Mbonimpa's son-in-law, Pascal Nshirimana, was killed in Bujumbura by unknown gunmen in September.

At least five people were killed by the police in Bujumbura on Friday, Anschaire Nikoyagize, the president of the Burundian League for Human Rights, told dpa.

Activists say about 200 people have been killed in protests and incidents in Burundi since April when Nkurunziza, who won an election boycotted by the opposition in July, announced his intention to seek a third term in office.

US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power expressed "deep concern" on Thursday over a speech given by Nkurunziza on November 2 that threatened to use violent methods in searching homes for weapons and opposition figures within five days.

"The United States expresses its extreme concern that the five-day ultimatum issued by the president will trigger widespread violence beginning this coming weekend," she said.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group warned in a report on Thursday that the east African country is at risk of sliding into a civil war.

The Burundian government is said to be facing an armed rebellion, possibly by renegade soldiers, who attack army posts, patrols and police stations.

More than 200 000 people have already fled the violence to neighbouring countries.

Read more on:    burundi  |  east africa

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