Burundi: a figure of the former Tutsi army murdered in Bujumbura

assaillants-ouvert-feu-voiture-colonelA former Chief of Staff of the Burundian army, Tutsi figure of the camp during the civil war (1993-2006), was murdered Saturday in Bujumbura by unidentified new incident reflecting the atmosphere of violence now prevails in Burundi.

Colonel Jean Bikomagu was killed at midday by strangers as he returned to his home in the district of Kabondo (south), told AFP a member of his family.

The attackers opened fire on his car at the gate of the house, before fleeing. Her daughter was seriously injured, we did the same source.

Colonel Bikomagu was a figure of former Burundian Armed Forces (FAB) during the bloody civil war between the army dominated by the Tutsi minority and Hutu rebellions, which caused nearly 300 000 deaths. He was notably Chief of Staff in the early years of the war, during the coup in October 1993 led by Tutsi officers in which the Hutu president Melchior Ndadaye was assassinated.

Tutsi himself, the colonel Bikomagu, although retired and converted in civilian life, embodied in itself this former Burundian army held by Tutsi officers, sworn enemy of the CNDD-FDD rebels now in power.

“A symbol”

“Bikomagu game was totally out politically, it weighed much in the army, it is mainly a symbol that was murdered,” said a former diplomat, connoisseur of the country.

His death comes a dozen days after the killing of a cacique of the strong man of the regime and security apparatus, General Adolphe Nshimirimana. This close to President Pierre Nkurunziza, key personality of the former Hutu rebels, was killed in a rocket attack in a northern district of the capital, raising fears of bloody reprisals of the presidential camp, particularly on the part of the league Youth CNDD-FDD militia qualified by the UN.

The next day, a famous Burundian defender of human rights, Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, who had repeatedly publicly accused General Nshimirimana have run opponents, was wounded in an assassination attempt. He has since left the country to Belgium.

Burundi is facing a serious political crisis since the end of April began when a popular protest against a third presidential term. Despite violence that left hundreds dead and a coup aborted mid-May, President Nkurunziza (in power since 2005) was officially re-elected late July during a contested election by the opposition in particular, the civil society and the international community.

Within months, the country has sunk into a dangerous spiral of violence. Almost every night, Bujumbura resonates bursts of automatic weapons and grenades detonations with burnt cars and corpses discovered in the early morning. During the day, curly neighborhoods, suspected opponents of raids and searches by the police multiply.

The military is now deeply divided, while former putschists announced in July have gone underground. Corroborating sources reported the infiltration of rebels or armed rebels in protest areas, with a rise in obvious power of this new insurrection. At least seven members of the CNDD-FDD were killed recently, the party denounced a “campaign of targeted killings” against its cadres.

“Condolences”

In his public speeches, the presidential camp has shown so far of relative restraint. It is quite different behind the scenes in the party meetings or social networks including, where some do not hesitate to play the card of ethnicity, without much success so far.

The CNDD-FDD and regularly insinuated that the Tutsi areas are the cradle of the protest. Which is incorrect in the opinion of all observers, emphasizing the presence of many Hutu among the armed opponents, including activists of the former FNL rebels. Experts also note that the vast majority of Burundians still refuses to give ethnic reflex, therefore including the Arusha peace agreement that ended the war and allowed a miraculous reconciliation.

Corroborating sources, several officers of the security forces, former rebel commanders have clearly promised to avenge the assassination of “General Adolphe” by the death of a personality at least equivalent to the “opposite camp”, c that is to say, for many of these executives CNDD-FDD, the Tutsi community.

On Twitter, a presidential adviser, Willy Nyamitwe, expressed his “condolences” to the family of Colonel Bikomagu, and felt that this “crime is part of the register other heinous murders.” Another propouvoir account regretted her that the former officer had “not been tried for hundreds of thousands of Hutu he killed in Burundi.”

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