Gunmen in Burundi killed a policeman and a civilian in a nighttime raid, while a retired colonel was assassinated in a separate attack in the troubled country, government officials said Wednesday.
The shootings are the latest in a string of killings in Burundi, which plunged into crisis in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for and won a controversial third term, sparking street protests, a failed coup, and a nascent rebellion.
The policeman and the civilian were killed at the office of the ruling party soon after nightfall on Tuesday in the Ndava district in the central Mwaro region, local governor Jean-Marie Nyakarerwa said. Four others were wounded.
Nyakarerwa said the four gunmen were “unidentified armed bandits”, who had also stolen cash from a beer storage warehouse.
Meanwhile in the capital Bujumbura, gunmen assassinated a retired army colonel in a drive-by shooting, killing him outside his house and wounding his son who was with him, city mayor Freddy Mbonimpa said, condemning the “horrible and incomprehensible crime”.
The government routinely dismisses descriptions of the crisis as a rebellion, instead blaming attacks on “armed criminals” or insurgents.
Opposition forces said in December they had launched a formal rebellion under the banner of the Republican Forces of Burundi (Forebu).
The killings came as peace talks — held without the opposition — closed unsuccessfully on Tuesday in the Tanzanian town of Arusha, with the next round scheduled to start in late June.