The African Union has called for restraint in Burundi following the murder of a leading member of the ruling CNDD-FDD party in the capital, Bujumbura.
Come Harerimana, president of the CNDD FDD chapter in Kanyosha district, was heading to his office on the back of a motor bike Wednesday when a crowd threw stones at him, the officials said.
Harerimana was pulled from the motorcycle and shot.
The murder is the third high profile attack in four days as the crisis in Burundi deepens.
Jacob Enoh Eben, spokesman for the African Union, issued "a very strong condemnation of the sort of barbaric acts that [are] going on in Burundi right now.”
He said, “The AU is calling on all Burundians to exercise the highest level of restraint and to really remain calm and not be provoked by these acts."
Harerimana’s murder came two days after the assassination attempt on Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, a human rights activist who was shot in the face Monday, but is now recovering at a hospital.
Sunday, General Adolphe Nshimirimana, a former intelligence chief and close aide to Mr. Nkurunziza, was assassinated when his car was ambushed.
Escalation of Violence
The murders appear to be an escalation of violence, which Burundians fear, if not checked, could plunge the country into yet another civil war.
Burundi’s civil war ended in 2005 following the signing of the Arusha peace accord.
AU's Eben called on all stakeholders including President Pierre Nkurunziza’s administration to commit to peace talks mediated by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. Mr. Museveni was recently appointed by regional leaders to help resolve the Burundi crisis.
But, civil society groups warn the peace talks appear not have helped resolve the fundamental issues that led to the ongoing violence. They contend that the talks have so far stalled with the opposition and government unwilling to compromise.
“For those who think that the mediation is very slow, we would really want to encourage them to have some patience, to give peace a chance and to give all the various actors a chance.” said Eben.
“I can tell you that the leaders are not sleeping. They are talking to one another back and forth," he added. "We really should give peace a chance and to support all the initiatives that are underway.”