Burundi: Political Assassinations Continue
In response to the assassination August 15 of Colonel Jean Bikomagu in the capital of Burundi, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“These revenge attacks and the outright disrespect for human rights are reinforcing the real possibility that civil war could re-erupt in Burundi," said Vukasin Petrovic, director of Africa programs. "If the international community, including the East African Community and African Union, does not seriously recommit to solving this crisis, Burundi is likely to see more violence, jeopardizing all of the gains made since the end of Burundi's civil war, in 2003. To avoid a repeat of the past, all parties must appeal for calm, and the government should conduct meaningful investigations of these attacks and abuses."
A series of high-profile attacks have occurred since President Pierre Nkurunziza won re-election in July and began a third term, despite clear term limits in the Arusha Accords. The victims have included General Adolphe Nshimirimama, who was killed, and human rights activist Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, who was injured. According to the UN, the number of new refugees from Burundi now exceeds 200,000.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.