Top general in Burundi army killed in rocket attack

The deceased general's destroyed a car at the scene of the shooting

The deceased general’s destroyed a car at the scene of the shooting

The former chief of Burundi Intelligence and Internal Security Services, Lieutenant General Adolphe Nshimirimana, has been killed in a rocket attack Sunday by unknown gunmen in military uniform. The information has been confirmed by Willy Ntamitwe, the spokesman of the President office via his twitter feed.

“I have lost a brother, a companion in the struggle. Sad reality, Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimina is no longer with us,” Nyamitwe tweeted.

According to various sources, heavily armed men ambushed his car around 8:45 am at Kamenge roundabout, populary known as GARE DU NORD. Many of his security guards were killed.

General Adolphe Nshimirimana

General Adolphe Nshimirimana

The security forces immediately besieged the scene, blocking all the traffic from the northern capital of Bujumbura for hours.

Lieutenant General Adolphe Nshimirimana, one of the most influential figures in the politics of Burundi and often presented as the number two in the regime, was President Pierre Nkurunziza’s best friend and confidant.

He is credited for having helped thwart the May 13, attempted coup that almost toppled President Nkurunziza.

Security is on heightened alert in the capital Bujumbura following this high profile shooting.

Prior to his drive-by shooting death, the Burundian government had been trying to forge normalcy after a highly disputed election cycle that just ended with President Nkurunziza winning a controversial third term.

Residents in the capital now fear a heavy handed retaliation from the government security forces.

“God help us, the military is going to want to revenge but I hope they don’t kill innocent civilians,” Joseph Uwamungu, an area resident told Afrika Reporter.

In the run up to the just concluded elections, renegade generals who mounted a failed coup to depose President Nkurunziza in May claimed responsibility of the recent string of grenade attacks that have claimed many lives and injured scores.

Graphic images of Nshimirimana's body

Graphic images of Nshimirimana’s body

“After we saw that we could not succeed, it was necessary to keep fighting to force Nkurunziza to resign and drop the third term bid, but when we saw that he is not going to resign we organized ourselves to keep fighting him, and that’s why these actions (grenade attacks) have been going on,” General Leonard Ngendakumana told KTN television station in Nairobi, Kenya, July 5.

Ngendakumana further threatened if the president went ahead with his third term, they would continue “fighting” until they force him out of power.

In response the military has assured Burundian they are safe and that any attack would be appropriately dealt with.

Earlier in July the military paraded dozens of captured rebels and revealed it had killed more than thirty rebels in a fierce fight at the country’s border with Rwanda. Residents claimed the rebels had invaded from Rwanda.

Experts have warned Burundi is tilting toward a full scale civil war.

The Uganda-mediated talks to end the conflict that started in April after the ruling party CNDD-FDD nominated Nkurunziza for the third term, have stalled, and it is not clear when and whether or not they will resume.