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Leading Burundian Activist Shot


Map of Burundi

Map of Burundi

Civic leaders in Burundi say a prominent human rights activist has been shot and seriously wounded in the capital, Bujumbura, a day after a top general was assassinated.

The civic leaders say Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who heads the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons, was shot by men on motorcycles as he was going home Monday. They say he was taken to a local hospital and is in serious condition.

Mbonimpa had publicly opposed President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial bid for a third term in office and has previously been jailed because of his activism.

It is not clear who carried out the attack.

The shooting comes a day after the assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, a former intelligence chief and one-time chief of staff to President Nkurunziza. The general's car was reportedly hit in a rocket attack in Bujumbura on Sunday. Following the general's murder, the president urged his supporters not to engage in revenge attacks against perceived political opponents.

Burundi has seen violence since April when Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term despite questions over whether the move was constitutional. Violent protests in the run-up to the election left at least 80 people dead and forced more than 170,000 Burundians to leave the country. The controversy also led to many opposition groups to boycott parliamentary and presidential elections.

Nkurunziza won re-election in last month's contest, which the international community called not free or fair, citing, among other things, violence and voter intimidation at the polls.

Nkurunziza's opponents contend his third term violates the constitution's two-term limit and the peace deal that ended Burundi's civil war in 2006. But Burundi's constitutional court ruled Nkurunziza, who is 51, eligible to seek another five-year-term, because he was chosen by lawmakers rather than voters for his first term in 2005.

The leader of the Forum for Strengthening the Civil Society (FORSC), Vital Nshimirimana, said Sunday that General Nshimirimana's assassination has sparked nationwide panic and confusion.

“Now that a senior army officer can be killed in the street, this is a matter of global concern from the population because they all know that they are not protected," Nshimirimana said.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Monday condemned the general's killing and expressed concern over its implications for security in Burundi.

Some information is from Reuters, AP and AFP.

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