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Burundi: Senior military officer assassinated at Defence Ministry

Burundi: Senior military officer assassinated at Defence Ministry


A senior Burundian army officer was on Tuesday night shot dead on the Defence Ministry’s compound, the army has said.

Lieutenant Colonel Darius Ikurakure, according to an army statement, was shot by an assassin dressed in a military uniform.

His death is the latest in a series of killings of pro-government and opposition figures which has prompted international concerns that the war-torn country could be plunged into war again.

After the crime, the criminal managed to escape.

“After the crime, the criminal managed to escape,” said army spokesman Major Clément Cimana in a statement, adding that the weapon used by the attacker had been recovered and authorities were still seeking to track down the attacker.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the killing.

His spokesman, Farhan Haq told reporters “such acts of violence risk exacerbating the current crisis in Burundi. The Secretary-General reiterates his appeal for Burundians to resolve their difference peacefully and to engage immediately in an inclusive and transparent political dialogue.”

Soldiers said the assassin may have attacked just after midday when people may have been away at lunch thus allowing him to flee.

Lieutenant Colonel Ikurakure was commander of a combat engineering battalion based in Muzinda, northeast of the capital, Bujumbura. He was considered a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza with whom he fought as a rebel during the civil war which ended in 2005.

He was however accused by opponents of being behind arbitrary arrests and the killings in some areas of Bujumbura over the past year.