Gunman shoots Burundi top activist Mbonimpa


Mbonimpa (R in green) with a police officer

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, is a Burundian human rights activist is reported to have been shot in the capital Bujumbura.

Mbonimpa, according to sources, was shot this evening while going back home.

“While on the way to his Kukanga home, he was intercepted by a gunman on a motorcycle at Kinama and shot at around 18:00p.m,” the source told us.

Civil society has called on police to offer him protection amid fears he could even be attacked on his hospital bed.

He is currently admitted in a hospital in the capital but his condition is still unknown.

Other reports says he is in intensive care at Polyclinique hospital.

We have also learnt that the rumour of his death started making rounds since yesterday evening.

On Monday evening, a gunman travelling on a motor bike trailed and shot him in the chest before speeding away.

The Special Envoy to the Great Lakes Region of Africa, Thomas Perriello, has condemned the attack.

“We abhor the attack on Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a tireless and fearless advocate for justice.  My prayers are with him and his family,” Perriello said in a tweet.

The shooting of Mbonimpa comes only a day after the assassination of President Pierre Nkurunziza’s military aide, Gen Adolphe Nshimirimana, in Ngagara north of the capital.

After Adolphe’s death, the leader of the Forum for Strengthening the Civil Society (FORSC), Vital Nshimirimana asked the state to protect citizens.

“It is the duty of the government to protect the citizens including ordinary citizens and top officials of the administration, the army and in the judiciary and other nationals living in the [country],” Vital told VOA.

There are fears that a period of assassinations has set in Burundi.

About Mbonimpa

Mbonimpa has been at the helm of activism in Burundi rallying civil society and civilians to resist state repression.

He has been arrested several times with the latest being on April 2015 at the height of anti-Nkurunziza protests.

Mbonimpa is the founder of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Incarcerated Persons (APRODH) August 2001.

He has worked as a public servant to the Economy and Finance Ministry for Burundi.

He served as a police officer for the Air and Customs Police, while at this position he was wrongfully accused and arrested for possession of an illegal weapon, and served two years in the Prison Centrale of Mpimba from 1994-1996.

During those two years of imprisonment, Mbonimpa was frequently tortured and beaten, and it was this experience that inspired him to form APRODH.

In 1995, after a year behind bars, he had the idea to create a non-profit organisation, and cooperating with two other inmates, they wrote the articles for Association for the Defence of the Rights of Prisoners.

Mbonimpa has received many death threats for his stance and work on improving human rights, however he has not let that take away from his work in Burundi.

He received the Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2007.

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