Opposition spokesman in Burundi gunned down

Patrice Gahungu, shortly after he was shot dead. Photo Credit.Gallerianews

Patrice Gahungu, shortly after he was shot dead. Photo Credit.Gallerianews

Patrice Gahungu, the spokesman of Union for Peace and Development (UPD), an opposition party in Burundi was shot dead Monday evening by unknown assailants in the capital Bujumbura.

According to the police, Mr. Gahungu was gunned down as he drove home from work.

He is the second top official of this political party to be assassinated in this manner in four months, the party’s leader Zedi Feruzi was himself shot to death by unknown gunmen in May, in the early stages of the current turmoil.

This latest targeted killing will further indicate that the conflict that started off as a massive protest again President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial third term in April has lately turned into a “new cycle of violence” that is threatening plunge the country into a civil war.

This new phase of violence of which some experts have dubbed ‘politically motivated’, August 2, with the assassination of Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana, former head of Internal Security, and a close ally of President Nkurunziza.

The prominent general’s shooting death was followed by the attack on the Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, and the assassination of former army chief of staff Col (rtd) Jean Bikomagu.

In his inaugural address to the nation, and in the days following his inauguration, President Nkurunziza has vowed to put this wave of violence to an end just two months but the death toll keeps to soar on a daily basis and grenade explosions and gunfire have become a norm in the capital Bujumbura.

“You should avoid violence based on wrong ideologies, ethnicity, provinces of origin and others. You are required to put forward respect of human rights, refraining from anything that might cause insecurity. Know that human life is a sacred property,” President Nkurunziza said in his inaugural speech.

He went on to add that “we would like to announce to all Burundians and international community that after this electoral process, the country is going to enjoy a new era of durable peace, security and prosperity. We warn whoever will try to constitute an obstacle, be it a Burundian or a foreigner, we will combat them and they will be in trouble.”