UN condemns killing attempt of activist in Burundi

Killing attempt of leading rights activist, shot in face by gunman in Burundi, triggers international outrage and stokes fears of escalating violence

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

International outrage was triggered over the attempted killing of a leading rights activist, shot in the face by a gunman on Tuesday, shooting stoked fears of escalating violence in Burundi.

On Monday, Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, who publicly opposed President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term last month, was shot by a gunman on a motorbike while on his way home from work in the capital.

"His condition is stable, and has even slightly improved," a family member said on Tuesday, according to AFP.

The assassination attempt was condemned by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, he called for the perpetrators to be punished.

"This incident... is part of a growing pattern of politically-motivated violence in Burundi that must be broken before it escalates beyond control," Ban’s spokesman said in a statement.

The UN Security Council also separately voiced that the "security situation in Burundi is deteriorating rapidly."  The council strongly condemned the violent attack targeting the rights activist.

The 15-member council voiced their support for regional mediation efforts and appealed for calm and return to dialogue.

Ban, on Monday, spoke on phone with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who is leading the East African efforts to defuse the crisis in Burundi.

Several diplomats, including ones from the United States and France, as well as African Union officials, were at Mbonimpa's hospital bedside during the night until the arrival of the police.

The shooting followed Sunday's rocket attack which resulted in the death of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, who was widely seen as the central African nation's de-facto internal security chief.

Last week Nkurunziza was declared the outright winner of the controversial presidential election for his third consecutive term despite opposition protests and international condemnation.

The constitution states that the presidential elections should be held at least a month before the end of the president’s term.

Burundi has been hit by weeks of civil unrest as the country’s opposition wants President Pierre Nkurunziza to withdraw his third-term presidential bid, which is widely considered as a violation to the country's constitution, and the Arusha Accords, a 2005 peace deal that ended a civil war that lasted for over a decade.

More than 70 people have been killed and 500 other wounded since Aprils's protests against Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

More than 100,000 people have fled Burundi since the start of the crisis in April, according to the UN.

Burundi’s constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because he was elected to his first term by lawmakers rather than the public.

Despite the country’s opposition vowing to boycott the polls and the US withdrawing its assistance, Burundi’s parliamentary elections proceeded on time, taking place on June 29.



TRTWorld and agencies