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Rebel group claims responsibility for killing of senior Burundi army officer

Rebel group claims responsibility for killing of senior Burundi army officer


A Burundian rebel group has claimed responsibility for the killing of a senior army officer this week.

The Burundian Republican Forces (FOREBU) led by a former officer, who launched an abortive coup against President Nkurunziza, made the admission on Twitter saying “those who took that oath” were behind the attack on Lieutenant Colonel Ikurakure adding that this “is just the beginning”.

The claim by FOREBU increases concerns by the international community that Burundi’s year-long political crisis is on the verge of becoming a full-blown conflict.

Lieutenant Colonel Darius Ikurakure was shot dead on Tuesday inside the Defence Ministry’s compound by an assassin dressed in a military uniform, the army said.

“We promised the people to defend them. We are at work. We will not stop until the mission is accomplished,” FOREBU announced on its Twitter account.

“Those who took that oath are behind the operation against Lt Col D. Ikurakure. You’ll see them again soon. For, it is just the beginning,” it said.

Some journalists have confirmed that FOREBU has used the account to issue other statements, according to Reuters.

The news agency however said it was not possible to get an independent confirmation from FOREBU members, who are said to be led by Godefroid Niyombare, a former intelligence chief and senior army officer behind an attempted coup in May.

The Burundi government this week said it had retrieved the weapon used in the assassination and was pursuing the killer.

The crisis in Burundi was sparked by Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in April last year, a move the opposition said violated the constitution and the terms of a peace deal that ended the nation’s 1993-2005 civil war.

So far, more than 400 people have been killed and over 220,000 have fled to neighbouring countries, including Rwanda.

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