Burundi cameraman, family shot dead by security forces

October 15, 2015 4:36 am
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Residents however accused the security forces of killing at least seven civilians, including the journalist and his family/FILE
Residents however accused the security forces of killing at least seven civilians, including the journalist and his family/FILE
NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 15 – A Burundian journalist, his wife and their two children were shot dead by security forces in a flashpoint district of the capital Bujumbura amid tensions following the re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza, residents said Wednesday.

Burundian police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said at least six people, including an officer, were killed on Tuesday in violence in the anti-Nkurunziza neighbourhood of Ngagara.

Residents however accused the security forces of killing at least seven civilians, including the journalist and his family.

In a statement on Twitter, Nkurikiye said two police officers had been kidnapped by “insurgents” in Ngagara.

One officer was killed and one was severely wounded by gunfire, the spokesman said, adding that five other people were killed in clashes that erupted when the police intervened.

A third police officer who had also allegedly been kidnapped was later found safe and sound, Nkurikiye said.

Several residents however gave a different version of events.

They said members of the presidential guard (API) “executed” at least seven civilians by shooting them in the head or the chest.

Among the dead was RTNB cameraman Christophe Nkezabahizi, his wife and two of their children – a 16-year-old girl and a 14-year-old boy.

The journalist, who was in his sixties, and his family were shot at close range in their home, their neighbours told AFP.

Burundi has been gripped by unrest since Nkurunziza announced he was running for a controversial third term, which the opposition, civil society and even sections of his own party said violated the constitution as well as the Arusha peace deal that ended the central African country’s civil war in 2006.

The crisis has intensified since Nkurunziza’s re-election in July, with assassinations targeting figures on both sides of the divide, attacks against the police and summary executions.

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