US to Burundians: renounce violence

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa at the hospital in Bujumbura

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a leading human rights activist was attacked earlier this month in Bujumbura, he is recovering in Belgium.

While condemning last Saturday’s murder of retired Colonel Jean Bikomagu, the former Army Chief of Staff of the Burundian Army, the Unites States has urged political leaders to reject violence as a political channel through which to achieve their motives.

“We also call on all sides to immediately renounce violence as a means to gain political goals and to redouble their efforts to promptly engage in a transparent, inclusive, comprehensive, and externally mediated political dialogue leading to peace.” The United States Embassy said Tuesday in a statement.

Col. Bikomagu was gunned down in Bujumbura by unknown assailants and his killing was the latest in string of assassinations and assassination attempts of high profile military and political leaders in the central African state.

The United Nations and the African Union have already condemned his killing and all the recent politically motivated attacks this month.

The Uganda mediated-talks to end the 4 month conflict are yet to resume but regional and international partners have mounted pressure on leaders in Burundi to go back to the negotiating table and talk through their differences.

The government in Burundi has managed to quell popular protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third, of which he has won but sporadic gun fire and grenade explosions in the capital Bujumbura coupled with the recent high profile assassinations have fueled the uncertainty and volatility of the country.

In the days following the July 21 highly controversial presidential poll, renegade generals that took part in the May 13 failed coup threatened they would launch an armed rebellion against to force President Nkurunziza out of power.

The president has tasked the country’s judiciary and police to investigate and bring perpetrators of August political killing.