Burundi opposition leader says wife injured in attack

2015-03-16 20:26
A file picture taken of Agathon Rwasa, the historical leader of the National Forces of Liberation (FNL) in Burundi. (Esdras Ndikumana, AFP)

A file picture taken of Agathon Rwasa, the historical leader of the National Forces of Liberation (FNL) in Burundi. (Esdras Ndikumana, AFP)

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Bujumbura - The wife of Burundi's top opposition leader was injured on Sunday by a gunman who attempted to kill her in an attack in the country's capital, her husband and former rebel chief Agathon Rwasa said.

Tensions are running high in the east African nation, which is tentatively emerging from more than a decade of civil war, because of a dispute over whether current President Pierre Nkurunziza can run for another term in a June vote.

Rwasa accused the government of compiling a hit list of people to be targeted in the run-up to a parliamentary election in May and the presidential vote in June, but vowed he would still contest the election.

"The attempt to kill my wife is politically motivated. Those who planned to assassinate my wife want to intimidate me," he told Reuters on Monday.

Rwasa's wife Annonciate Haberisoni was treated in a private hospital and discharged after the attack that took place in a hairdressing salon.

"If they think they will discourage me from running in the coming presidential elections, my answer is no," Rwasa said.

Government officials were not immediately available for comment.

Under the constitution Nkurunziza, who has been in power since 2005, is only allowed to serve only two terms. However, his supporters argue his first term should not count since he was picked by lawmakers rather than voted in.

Nkurunziza himself has not yet said that he will run.

Two weeks ago, the Roman Catholic Church, which is followed by more than two-thirds of the population and played a key role in peace talks, said the constitution did not permit Nkurunziza to seek a third term.

A visiting United Nations Security Council delegation last week appealed for strict adherence of the constitution to consolidate the fragile peace in the country.

Read more on:    agathon rwasa  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  burundi elections 2015

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