AFRICA/BURUNDI - High-profile murders and mysterious deaths worsen the political crisis

Thursday, 31 March 2016 armed groups  

Bujumbura (Agenzia Fides) - Two high-profile murders worsen the political crisis in Burundi, threatening to involve neighboring Rwanda. Former Rwandan Minister Jacques Bihozagara, arrested by the Burundian security services in December 2015, died yesterday, 30 March, in the central prison of Mpimba, in the capital Bujumbura, officially for a sudden illness. Bihozagara, who after retiring from public life became an entrepreneur and invested in activities in Burundi, had been arrested on charges of espionage in favor of Rwanda.
The government in Kigali sought clarification on the death of its ex-Minister to Burundian authorities who in turn accuse Rwanda of arming the opposition against President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Another mysterious incident is the killing of Colonel Darius Ikurakure, a close associate of Nkurunziza. The senior officer was attacked by armed men inside the Ministry of Defense. The murder was later claimed by FOREBU (Forces Republicaines du Burundi), a group of opponents to Nkurunziza that boasts adhesions within the armed forces.
Ikurakure is considered responsible for the wave of arrests and extrajudicial killings of opponents to the third term of Nkurunziza, obtained in violation of the Constitution and of the Arusha Peace Accords.
Nkurunziza announced his intention to run in the elections a year ago. In this period 474 people were killed and 36 disappeared mysteriously, while more than 5,000 people were taken under arrest, including 125 political prisoners. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 31/03/2016)