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Gunmen shoot dead Burundi opposition politician
Gunmen have shot dead the spokesman of a small opposition political party in Burundi, where tensions remain high following the controversial re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Deputy police chief Godefroid Bizimana said on Tuesday that Patrice Gahungu, the spokesman of the Union for Peace and Democracy (UPD), was “shot dead by unidentified people” as he arrived home late on Monday evening.
Meanwhile, UPD official Chauvineau Mugwengezo, who is the honorary president of the party, accused the government of being behind the assassination.
“This heinous crime is part of a series of assassinations targeting all those who dared to say that his third term is illegal,” media outlets quoted Mugwengezo as saying, referring to the re-election of the president for a third term.
However, a police source alleged that Gahungu may have been killed by the opposition because “he had publicly congratulated President Nkurunziza for his re-election, which had attracted the wrath of his camp.”
The death is the latest in a series of killings in the violence-wracked African country.
In May, the UPD president Zedi Feruzi was shot dead amid weeks of protests at President Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term in power. Feruzi, the head of the UPD, was assassinated along with his bodyguard while on his way home in the central district of Ngagara.
Nkurunziza won an outright victory in the presidential election after grabbing 69.41 percent of the votes.
Nkurunziza’s third term has widely been censured as unconstitutional by the country’s opposition.
The July presidential election was also criticized by the United Nations observer mission in Burundi, which said the vote was not “inclusive, free and credible,” and that it was held “in an environment of profound mistrust” between political rivals.
An impoverished and landlocked country in the heart of the troubled Great Lakes region of Central Africa, Burundi plunged into turmoil in late April, when Nkurunziza first announced his bid to run for a third consecutive five-year term.
The decision was denounced by the opposition, which argued the move was contrary to the constitution, which only allows two successive terms, and the 2000 Arusha Agreement that paved the way for ending the civil war in the country