Burundi: Gunmen Kill Ex-Army Colonel and Two others as assassinations Escalate

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BUJUMBURA Gunmen killed three people including a retired army colonel, in continuing violence associated with President Pierre Nkurunziza’s extended time in power, an official and a relative of the deceased said Wednesday.

Unknown gunmen killed retired army Col. Ruyifiyi Lucien as he entered his home in the Ngagara neighborhood in the north of the capital, Bujumbura, his sister Agnes Inakanyana said.

Around 10 men riding motorcycles — two armed with guns — killed the chief of judicial police who was at a beer warehouse, said Aloys Ndenzaki, chief of Ndava community in Mwaro province in central Burundi Tuesday night. The owner of the warehouse was wounded, said Ndenzaki. The group then killed a guard at the ruling party’s offices before trying to torch the building, he said.

Nkurunziza’s third term in office has been opposed by many who say it’s unconstitutional. The April 2015 announcement of Nkurunziza’s candidacy sparked violent streets protests, which boiled over into an attempted coup and rebellion. Nkurunziza won the polls in July.

At least 400 people have died in the violence which has created a climate of fear and led more than 250,000 people to flee to neighboring countries. Burundi has a long history of military coups and civil war and the international community fears that the current political turmoil can drag the country back to full blown conflict.

At least 130 cases of assassinations have been investigated since January, according to the National Independent Commission on Human Rights.