Burundi opposition leader Pontian assassinated


The late Pontian

A top Burundi opposition leader, Pontian Barutwanayo, has also been assassinated in the capital Bujumbura.

Pontian was the outgoing administrator of Isale commune (Bujumbura) and the director of the National Liberation Front (FNL), an opposition party led by Agathon Rwasa, the vice president of the Burundian National Assembly.

FNL boycotted both June and July parliamentary and presidential elections accusing president Nkurunziza of breaching the Arusha Accord.

He was shot and killed Saturday night in Rushubi about 30km east of the capital.

SOS Media Burundi says Pontian was in a bar and restaurant near the hospital when a gunman came out of nowhere and opened fire.

The assassin fled in a jeep car after executing his mission.

Pontian is said to had mobilized his commune to prevent the Imbonerakure militias allied to President Pierre Nkurunziza, from harassing the residents.

Ruridikye Celestin, an official of the Burundi League for Human Rights, told RFI that at the time of the shooting, Pontian was accompanied by three other people; a driver, a nurse at Rushubi hospital and a teacher.

The latter was seriously injured, but his condition is now stable but all three are still alive.

Earlier assassinations

A recently murdered Colonel Jean Bikomagu, the former Major Head of State will be buried tomorrow.

His remains are still in the morgue at hospital-Prince Louis Rwagasore Clinic.

SOS Media Burundi says Bikomagu’s requiem mass will be held at the Regina Mundi cathedral and funeral at Mpanda cemetery.

Jean Bikomagu was killed last August 15 outside his home.

Only yesterday, Burundians laid to rest the remains of General Adolphe Nshimirimana in Kamenge where he was assassinated at the start of this month.

Imbonerakure youth wielding sticks and wearing T-shirts dubbed him “Hero of Democracy”.

Arrests and searches in Cibitoke

Meanwhile, Police have carried out rigorous searches this morning in the Cibitoke area north of the capital Bujumbura.

Houses were turned inside out and 20 people arrested and taken to the dungeons of Cibitoke commune.

Separately, about 80 people have been killed during protests following Nkurunziza’s pursuit of his third term which he achieved in flawed elections.

Nkurunziza’s victory was followed by explosions and killings in Bujumbura where more 20 people were killed.

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