Official: Top Burundi General Assassinated in the Capital

August 2, 2015 Updated: August 2, 2015

BUJUMBURA, Burundi— Burundi’s former intelligence chief who was a key security ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza was killed Sunday in a drive-by shooting in the capital, Bujumbura, a presidential spokesman said.

Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana was killed when men in a car shot at him and his bodyguards while traveling in the Kamenge neighborhood, Willy Nyamitwe told The Associated Press Sunday.

The attackers also lobbed a grenade into Nshimirimana’s vehicle, and the general was evacuated before he later died from his wounds, he said.

The killing is likely to stoke tensions in Burundi, which has been wracked by violence since April when it was revealed that Nkurunziza would seek a third term in office. Nkurunziza’s bid sparked regular street protests in Bujumbura that became violent as the security forces tried to break up the demonstrations.

Nshimirimana was widely seen as a key member of the president’s security team who helped to put down an attempted coup in May.

Nkurunziza won the July 21 presidential polls with 69 percent of the vote while his closest rival, Agathon Rwasa, got 19 percent.

The international community condemned the elections as not being credible because of violence, intimidation, media restrictions and questions over the legitimacy of a third term for Nkurunziza.

Many fear that Nkurunziza’s determination to stay in power can trigger widespread violence in the poor central African country of 10 million that has a history of civil strife.

Earlier this month the Burundi government said the army had put down a rebellion in the country’s north, killing 31 insurgents and arresting 171 others.