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Burundi's Opposition Spokesman Killed in Capital

Bujumbura, Burundi
Bujumbura, Burundi

The spokesman for an opposition party in Burundi was shot and killed on Monday outside his home in the capital, the leader of the party said Tuesday.

Patrice Gahungu of the opposition UPD Zigamibanga was assassinated by unknown gunmen in the Gihosha neighborhood of Bujumbura on Monday evening, said party leader Chauvineau Mugwengezo.

In May, Zedi Feruzi, then the leader of UPD Zigamibanga, was shot dead in Bujumbura amid violent street protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for more time in office.

Nkurunziza won re-election in July polls widely seen as not credible, but violence persists in Bujumbura, with occasional bursts of gunfire and grenade explosions, as the security forces mount an operation to disarm civilians in some volatile parts of the city.

In August a top military general who once led the intelligence services, Adolphe Nshimirimana, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Bujumbura, sparking concerns of revenge killings in which regime loyalists and opponents target each other.

Bujumbura has been hit by violence since April after the ruling party announced Nkurunziza would be their candidate for re-election. The decision was seen by many as unconstitutional, but Nkurunziza's supporters said he was eligible for another term because for his first term he had been chosen by lawmakers and was not popularly elected.

Amid protests of Nkurunziza's decision to run again, some military officers mounted a coup in May that was quickly put down by the president's allies in the security forces.