Burundi opposition official killed: authorities and colleague

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Unidentified gunmen have killed an opposition party official in Burundi’s Muramvya province, authorities and a colleague of the victim said on Wednesday.

Burundi has experienced turmoil and sporadic violence since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was seeking a third term, a move the opposition says violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended civil war in 2005.

He was sworn in on Aug. 20 after winning an election boycotted by his opponents.

Muramvya Governor Emmanuel Niyungeko said Jean Baptiste Nsengiyumva, the head of the opposition MSD party in a district of the province, was killed on Tuesday night.

“We strongly condemn this assassination aimed at disturbing security in the province. We ask the population to strengthen security in their neighborhoods. We also call on those who illegally possess arms to hand them over,” he told Reuters.

Methode Manirakiza, a neighbor and colleague of Nsengiyumva, said the attackers shot him and threw grenades at him.

“The victim had no problem with anyone to the best of our knowledge in the neighborhood. He had fear for his security as a member of an opposition party,” Methode said.

Donatien Barandereka, Muramvya’s police commissioner, said the killing was being investigated.

On Monday, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said there had been an “alarming upsurge” in the number of killings and arrests in Burundi after the president was sworn in for his third term.

Writing by George Obulutsa; editing by Andrew Roche