Burundi rights activist shot and wounded

2015-08-03 21:48

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Bujumbura - A leading rights activist in Burundi was shot and wounded late on Monday by unknown assailants in the capital, Bujumbura, a civic leader said.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, president of The Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons, was fired upon while walking home, said Vital Nshimirimana. Mbonimpa was being treated in a local hospital, he said, offering no more details.

The shooting comes a day after the assassination of Adolphe Nshimirimana, a top military general who was a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Nshimirimana was killed in a drive-by shooting early Sunday in Burundi.

There is fear that Nshimirimana's killing could spark revenge attacks against perceived opponents of the regime.

Gunfire rang out in Bujumbura on Sunday night following the killing of Nshimirimana.

Burundi has been on edge since April after the ruling party nominated Nkurunziza to be its candidate in presidential elections, setting off frequent and often violent street protests in Bujumbura.

Nkurunziza, who was re-elected last month, said in a televised address that he has ordered the police to find Nshimirimana's killers within 10 days.

Nshimirimana was "one of the key hardliners around the president" and became more influential as Nkurunziza faced regular street protests by civilians who wanted Nkurunziza to retire after serving two terms, said Carina Tertsakian, researcher for Burundi for Human Rights Watch.

"Despite or perhaps because of his brutal reputation, Adolphe was generally seen as untouchable, with no one in a position of power daring, or even suggesting, holding him to account," she said.

Human Rights Watch has received frequent allegations that he was behind many incidents of killing, torture, arrests of suspected opponents and other abuses over the past several years, she said.

Nshimirimana, a former army chief of staff and head of the intelligence services, is believed to have helped to defeat an attempted coup against Nkurunziza in May.

Nkurunziza won the July 21 presidential polls with 69% of the vote.

Read more on:    human rights watch  |  pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  east africa

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