Burundi Opposition vow to keep marching despite assassination of one of their own

Funeral procession of Zedi Feruzi, slain Burindi opposition leader.Photo/David Thomson/RFI

Funeral procession of Zedi Feruzi, slain Burindi opposition leader.Photo/David Thomson/RFI

Fear and resentment marked the funeral of Zed Feruzi, leader of a Burundian opposition party the Union for Peace and Development (UPD), who was gunned down near his home in Ngagara Bujumbura Saturday evening.

At the funeral ceremony this Sunday attended by thousands of grieving supporters of UPD, participants reiterated their determination to pursue their march until President Nkurunziza withdraws his 3rd term candidacy.

“We are tired, we are sorrowful, in complete desolation; they kill us with no mercy; they have power, money and weapons and they kill us at their will,” lamented one of the supporters in the funeral procession.

The incident occurred after a series of opposition allegations over what they call the will of the ruling party to eliminate all key opposition figures. For the civil society and opposition leaders, the murder is part of this plan of eliminating political opponents, especially those opposed to Nkurunziza’s third term bid

“We had information that the CNDD-FDD had plans to assassinate all opponents of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s 3rd term starting with protesters, lists opposition leaders, civil society and media to eliminate were designed, this assassination falls into this plan,” says Charles Nditije, one of the organizers of the protests.

Leaders of the civil society were not present in the funeral ceremony reportedly because they feared for their safety.

Belgium, as well as the United Nations, has called for quick and transparent investigations over the murder.

Aside from Feruzi’s death by unknown gunmen, the capital Bujumbura remains relatively calm following a two-day (Saturday and Sunday), for protestors to stock up on supplies, to tend to the dead, and to facilitate talks between Burundian authorities and opposition under mediation of Saïd Djinnit, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, in Bujumbura.

Following Feruzi’s ssassination however, leaders of protests against Nkurunziza’s third term bid have announced their withdrawal from the ongoing talks, calling for strong and massive demonstrations Monday.