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Leading Burundian activist injured in shooting: NGO sources

POLICE-LINE-DO-NOT-CROSSBUJUMBURA, Burundi, Aug 3 – A well-known human rights defender in restive Burundi was seriously injured in a shooting in the capital on Monday, civil society activists told AFP, the day after a top general was assassinated.

Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa “has been very badly wounded, he is in hospital,” said Balthazar Fengure of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detainees.

He added that Mbonimpa had publicly opposed President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term in office.

“We don’t yet know what happened, we are waiting for news from the hospital,” he added.

According to fellow civil society activist Innocent Muhozi, who is close to Mbonimpa and who said he spoke to the victim’s family, “men on motorcycles shot at him while he was on his way home”.

Mbonimpa, in his sixties, has been jailed several times because of his activism.

On April 27, he was held without charge for 30 hours by the intelligence services after he publicly called for protests against Nkurunziza’s bid to run for a third term.

In 2014, he was jailed for four and a half months and then granted conditional release for health reasons.

He was accused at the time of “endangering state security” over allegations that the ruling CNDD-FDD party’s youth wing was being given paramilitary training in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

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The shooting comes a day after the assassination of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, a close aide to Nkurunziza. He was widely seen as the central African nation’s de facto internal security chief and even considered the regime’s number two.

Just last week Nkurunziza was declared the outright winner of elections, securing a third straight term despite opposition protests and international condemnation.

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