Burundi’s slain top general finally laid to rest

General Nshimirima's casket

General Nshimirima’s casket

Lieutenant General Adolphe Nshimirimana, former head of Internal Security has been buried this Saturday, 20 days after he was assassinated in a rocket and gunfire attack in the capital Bujumbura.

This Saturday morning, overwhelmed by grief, General Nshimirima’s family and relatives, and close friends paid their last respects to the man who was believed to be President Pierre Nkurunziza’s close confidant. His body was laying at the mortuary Kamenge Hospital’s mortuary, built by Nshimirimana himself.

Several top government officials attended the funeral including the two newly inaugurated vice-presidents but President Nkurunziza did not.

Many of the youth members of Imbonerakure, the CNDD-FDD ruling party infamous youth wing were present wearing T-shirts emblazoned with “Lieutenant General Adolphe Nshimirimana, we will always remember the bravery and courage that has always characterized you” and “Adolphe, Hero of Democracy!”

General Nshimirimana was a close ally of President Nkurunziza

General Nshimirimana was a close ally of President Nkurunziza

Major roads in Bujumbura were closed for the duration of the funeral including the “Boulevard du 28 Novembre”. The police had issued road closure warnings Friday.

The death of Lieutenant General Adolphe Nshimirimana has dealt a huge blow to President Nkurunziza and the ruling party.

Having played a key role in quelling the May 13 attempted coup against the president, the fallen general was believed to be the de facto number two in the regime.

At age 51, Nshimirimana was murdered on the morning of Sunday, August 2 at GARE DU NORD, Kamenge, north of Bujumbura by unknown gunmen donning military uniform.

His killing has been followed by the attempted assassination of the human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, and the shooting death of Colonel (rtd) Jean Bikomagu, the former Army Chief of Staff.

It is believed the former army chief’s murder was revenge for General Nshimirimana assassination.

Authorities in Bujumbura have revealed they have apprehended suspects in Nshimirimana’s murder but the masterminds are still at large. No arrests have been made in Mbonimpa’s case and that of the colonel.

Recent politically motivated killings have prompted the international community to urge Burundians to refrain from violence, and leaders to return to the negotiating table to resolve their differences peacefully.

President Nkuruziza was sworn in for the third term Thursday in a ceremony largely snubbed by the international community and regional leaders.

In his inaugural address, President Nkurunziza vowed to be the president for all Burundians; those who voted for him and those who didn’t. He also warned foreigners to stop meddling in Burundi politics.

The US has dismissed his inauguration saying “an inauguration – without a government that represents the population’s many political voices and without a comprehensive and inclusive dialogue – will not resolve the political and security crisis in Burundi.”