Burundi president condemns general’s killing as violence grows

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza addresses a news conference attended by the visiting United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (not seen in picture) in the capital Bujumbura February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has condemned the killing of a senior army officer, who was shot along with his wife and bodyguard in an attack that also wounded their child in the central African nation’s expanding wave of deadly violence.

Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza, who was a military adviser in the office of the vice president, was dropping his child at a school in a neighbourhood of the capital Bujumbura on Monday when his car was attacked by rocket and gun fire, army spokesman Gaspard Baratuza told reporters.

Kararuza has previously worked as a deputy commander of an international peace force in the Central African Republic (CAR).

“He energetically fought against the coup plotters last year and exceptionally contributed in strengthening peace and security during and after elections,” Nkurunziza said in a statement late on Monday.

“We humbly pray that with the help of God perpetrators of the shameful acts are arrested and quickly punished according to the law.”

Tit-for-tat attacks between Nkurunziza’s security forces and his opponents have escalated since April 2015 when he announced a disputed bid for a third term as president and won re-election in July.

The U.N. says more than 400 people have been killed and over 250,000 have fled, reports Reuters.

On Monday, the international war crimes court said it will investigate the rising violence in Burundi.

Nkurunziza’s opponents said his third term bid broke a peace agreement that ended a previous civil war while the government said a third term was legal, citing a constitutional court ruling.

The president won re-election in July.

Three armed groups, including one led by officers that attempted a coup in May 2015, have launched armed rebellions against Nkurunziza’s government.

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