Burundi general, wife killed dropping child off at school

Monday April 25 2016

A picture taken on April 25, 2016 in Bujumbura

A picture taken on April 25, 2016 in Bujumbura shows the blood-stained and shrapnel-riddled vehicle in which Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza and security advisor to Burundi's first vice president Athanase Kararuza was killed. Kararuza was killed on April 25 in an attack by heavily-armed men, along with his wife. AFP PHOTO | ONESPHORE NIBIGIRA 


An army general and security advisor to Burundi’s first vice president was Monday morning killed in an attack by heavily-armed men, along with his wife and daughter.

Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza was ambushed on his way to drop his daughter off at school in the Gihosha neighbourhood in Bujumbura at around 7.15am (0515 GMT), a high-ranking security source said.

"They attacked him with rockets and grenades, his security detail tried to respond but unfortunately General Kararuza and his wife were killed," he told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"His daughter succumbed to her injuries in hospital although the doctors did everything to save her," he said.

Several other high-placed security sources and the main spokesman at the presidency confirmed the attack and the death of Kararuza.

This follows a series of targeted assassinations that continue to rock the country since the crisis began last April when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term, which he went on to win in July 2015.

Narrow escape

On Sunday, Burundi’s Human Rights minister Martin Nivyabandi and his wife narrowly escaped death in a grenade attack as they left a church in Nyakabiga neighbourhood in the capital.

"A grenade was thrown in the car park of the Healing of the Souls church in Nyakabiga," Bujumbura Freddy Mbonimpa said.

"They were very lightly injured by the explosion and their vehicle was badly damaged. They only had a few scratches and were discharged after treatment in a hospital," he added.

Numerous politicians, civil society leaders and army officers have been killed or narrowly escaped attacks since the start of the crisis.

Such attacks are never claimed, with both sides systematically denying any responsibility.

Burundi will Tuesday, April 26 mark one year since the turmoil began with violence leaving more than 500 people dead and more than 270,000 having fled the country.

Additional reporting by Moses Havyarimana