Suspects in killing Burundi’s general arrested

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General Adolphe Nshimirimana

Burundi’s prosecutor on Sunday said the killers of a powerful general loyal to President Pierre Nkurunziza had been identified.

General Adolphe Nshimirimana, Burundi’s de-facto internal security chief, was killed in a rocket attack on August 2.

He was a close aide to Nkurunziza, whose election for a controversial third term has fuelled violence resulting in about a hundred deaths, a crackdown on protests and an exodus of citizens fleeing the country.

A statement issued from Burundi’d  prosecutor’s office said that the identities of the perpetrators are known, a certain number had been arrested and that the rest of the masterminds were being sought.

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Human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa

The arrests came as human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa was allowed to leave the capital Bujumbura for Belgium on Sunday after he survived an assassination attempt last week, his family said.

The attempt on his life was widely seen as a reprisal for the killing of Nshimirimana the day before and has raised fears that the crisis in Burundi could be escalating.

Intense exchanges of gunfire and several detonations were heard over nearly two hours in the capital Bujumbura on Sunday night, an AFP reporter said, but it was not immediately known exactly where the fighting was taking place or who was involved.

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General Adolphe Nshimirimana funeral

Nkurunziza, who has been declared the outright winner of July’s controversial election, has given the security forces a week to catch the general’s killers.

The prosecutor said a military vehicle had been used by the killers and subsequently burned.

The vehicle had been identified and came from a military camp in the centre of Bujumbura.

According to witnesses , the attackers were wearing military uniforms.

Nkurunziza’s bid to hold onto power was condemned as unconstitutional by the opposition and provoked months of protests in the country where a 13-year civil war only ended in 2006.