October 13, 2015 / 10:55 PM / 4 years ago

Seven killed in shootings, grenade attack in Burundi capital: police, residents

NAIROBI (Reuters) - At least seven people were killed in shootings and a grenade attack on Tuesday in Burundi’s capital, police and residents said, in a further spate of violence following the election of President Pierre Nkurunziza to a third term.

Residents of the Ngagara neighborhood - a stronghold for opposition supporters - said two police officers and a television cameraman and his family were among the dead.

Residents identified the cameraman as Christophe Nkezabahizi who worked with state-run RTNB radio and television station, who they said was shot dead along with his wife and two children.

“Police found him (Christophe) with his whole family at home (and) killed him alongside other people who were fleeing shootings,” said a neighbor and colleague who asked not to be named.

Another Ngagara resident said the two police officers had died in a grenade attack and that their colleagues had then shot dead the attackers in retaliation.

In a broadcast on state-run radio, Deputy Police Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye confirmed the deaths of the television cameraman, one police officer and five “criminals” but made no mention of the cameraman’s family. He said one police officer had been injured in the grenade attack.

Activists and authorities have reported a number of apparently targeted killings in the central African country, which was thrown into crisis in April when Nkurunziza’s plan to remain in office triggered weeks of protests and a failed coup.

Nkurunziza ultimately won in a disputed vote, but tensions have remained high in Bujumbura with frequent clashes between security forces and residents in anti-Nkurunziza strongholds.

Late last month, 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.

Additional reporting by Patrick Nduwimana in Kigali; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Gareth Jones

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