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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Top general assassinated in Burundi, officials say

Adolphe Nshimirimana was widely considered to be the central African nation’s de facto internal security chief and the regime’s No 2.

BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI // A top Burundian general and close aide to president Pierre Nkurunziza was killed Sunday in a rocket attack on his car in the capital Bujumbura, officials and witnesses said.

Adolphe Nshimirimana was widely considered to be the central African nation’s de facto internal security chief and the regime’s No 2.

Police and witnesses said Nshimirimana’s car was hit in an apparent rocket attack in the capital shortly before midday Sunday, and he was later confirmed to have died.

The presidency’s communications chief Willy Nyamitwe confirmed the death of the former army chief of staff and intelligence chief.

“I have lost a brother, a companion in the struggle. The sad reality is that Gen Adolphe Nshimirimana is no longer with this world,” he said in a message posted on Twitter.

The assassination comes just over a week after Nkurunziza was declared the outright winner of controversial elections, securing a third consecutive term in the crisis-hit country, despite opposition protests and international condemnation.

Nkurunziza’s candidacy was condemned as unconstitutional by the opposition and provoked months of protests that left at least 100 dead, as well as an attempted coup in mid-May.

Gen Nshimirimana was seen as the mastermind behind the crackdown on the protest, as well as a key player in foiling the coup attempt.

There are fears that renewed conflict in the country could reignite ethnic Hutu-Tutsi violence and bring another humanitarian disaster to central Africa’s troubled Great Lakes region.

The last civil war in Burundi, which ended in 2006, left at least 300,000 people dead.

* Agence France-Presse

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