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Burundi TV Cameraman Shot and Killed in Latest Violence in Bujumbura

Tensions have been high in Bujumbura since President Pierre Nkurunziza's disputed reelection in July, with frequent clashes between security forces and residents in anti-Nkurunziza strongholds.
Photo via AP

A national television cameraman was among one of 10 people killed in shootings and a grenade attack in Burundi's capital on Tuesday, in a further spate of violence following the election of President Pierre Nkurunziza to a controversial third term.

Christophe Nkezabahizi who worked with state-run RTNB radio and television station, was shot dead along with his wife and two children, according to authorities and residents of Bujumbura's Ngagara neighborhood — a stronghold for opposition supporters.


Residents initially told Reuters on Tuesday that police had killed Nkezabahizi and others who had fled indiscriminate shooting by the officers. Police say they went into the compound looking for fellow officers who had been kidnapped, the BBC reported.

A Ngagara resident said that two police officers died in a grenade attack and that their colleagues were shot dead the attackers in retaliation. Authorities confirmed to the BBC that 10 people had died in the violence, but did not release any additional details beyond the cameraman's death.

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 beyond the two-term limit outlined in the constitution triggered weeks of protests, police crackdowns, 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, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein said that 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.

Just weeks after the election, assailants targeted the well-known human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa in August, but failed to kill him. In September, the same week that anopposition spokesman was gunned down, gunmen killed at least four people while attempting to assassinate the army's chief of staff on the streets of the capital Bujumbura.

More recently, on October 9, gunmen on motorbikes shot and killed Mbonimpa's son-in-law Pascal Nshirimana. Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said that the murder was not political, attributing it "to a settling of accounts with businessmen he was working with."