Burundian rights activist shot

BUJUMBURA: The attempted killing of a leading Burundian human rights activist, shot in the face by a gunman, triggered international outrage and concern today.

Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, who publicly opposed President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial and successful bid for a third term last month, was shot as he made his way home from work in the capital yesterday by a gunman on a motorbike.

“His condition is stable, and has even slightly improved,” a family member said today.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned “the assassination attempt” and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

“This incident... is part of a growing pattern of politically-motivated violence in Burundi that must be broken before it escalates beyond control,” Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement. Several diplomats, including from the United States and France, as well as African Union officials, were at Mbonimpa’s hospital bedside during the night until the arrival of the police.

The shooting followed Sunday’s killing in a rocket attack of General Adolphe Nshimirimana, who was widely seen as the central African nation’s de-facto internal security chief.

The attacks come just over a week after Nkurunziza was declared the outright winner of a controversial presidential election, securing a third consecutive term despite opposition protests and international condemnation.

Nkurunziza’s candidacy was condemned as unconstitutional by the opposition and provoked months of protests that left at least 100 people dead in a fierce government crackdown, as well as an attempted coup in mid-May.