A Burundian minister was shot dead by an unknown assassin early Sunday morning in the capital Bujumbura, the local police have confirmed.
Emmanuel Niyonkuru, 54, Minister of Water, Environment and Planning, was “killed by a man armed with a firearm, while he was going to his home in Rohero, around 00:45,” police spokeswoman Pierre Nkurikiye said.
The police added that a woman was arrested after the “assassination”. This murder is the first aimed at the minister who was sworn into office in April 2015 after the country was plunged into a serious political crisis arising from the decision of President Pierre Nkurunziza to run for a third term in 2015.
I strongly condemn this barbaric act and heinous crime, and call on the government of Burundi to investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Emmanuel Niyonkuru, Burundi's minister of environment and territorial management, was assassinated last night, president says— BNO News (@BNONews) January 1, 2017
Burundi had experienced relative calm for months now, with the last high profile assassination attempt being targeted at Nkurunziza’s spokesman, Willy Nyamitwe.
At least 500 people have been killed and 300,000 have been forced into exile since the start of the political crisis in Burundi in April 2015.
The president tweeted the news of his appointee’s death on Sunday morning assuring that the crime was not going to go unpunished.
AU Commission Chair reacts
The African Union (AU) chief, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma too to twitter to express her condolences with the family of the minister and Burundians.
“I strongly condemn this barbaric act and heinous crime, and call on the government of Burundi to investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice,” she said.
Learned with sadness the assassination of a Burundi Cabinet Minister, H.E. Emmanuel Niyonkuru, in #Bujumbura, on New Year's Eve.— Dr Dlamini Zuma (@DlaminiZuma) January 1, 2017