A group of heavily armed men ambushed Burundi Army Chief of Staff Major General Prime Niyongabo as he was heading to work Friday in the capital, Bujumbura.
Burundi Army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza told VOA that Niyongabo survived the attack, but four of his bodyguards and two gunmen were killed during an ensuing gunfight that lasted roughly 20 minutes. One of the attackers was wounded.
Baratuza promised a swift investigation.
“One of the gunmen is receiving treatment, but he is able to talk and we are positive we are going to get valuable information with regard to the planners and perpetrators of the attack,” he said.
The army spokesman said the wounded gunman is a Burundi army soldier.
Baratuza said that machines guns, rocket launchers, rifles as well as grenades were found at the scene of the attack.
Burundi has been the scene of targeted assassinations and violent clashes between police and opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza since last April, when he decided to seek a contested third term.
Former intelligence chief Adolphe Nshimirimana was savagely murdered on August 2 by gunmen who used rockets, while former army chief Jean Bikomagu was shot dead by unknown gunmen as he was returning home from church a week later.