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Top aide to Burundi president escapes assassination attempt

A top adviser to Burundi’s president has survived an assassination attempt in the capital Bujumbura which left one of his bodyguards dead, officials say.

Willy Nyamitwe
Willy Nyamitwe

Willy Nyamitwe was slightly wounded on his arm and another bodyguard was injured in the attack on Monday night, the officials added.

Burundi descended into turmoil last year when President Pierre Nkurunzinza began his bid for a third term.

More than 500 people have died and at least 270,000 have fled the country.

In a tweet in French, Mr Nyamitwe, who is Mr Nkurunziza’s media adviser and chief spokesman, said he was “doing well” but was saddened by the death of his bodyguard.

He was attacked while returning to his home in the western suburb of Kajaga and this was not the first time he had been targeted, pro-government news website Ikiriho said.

Burundi’s UN ambassador Albert Shingiro said the attack had been carried out by an “axis of evil” that had “cast Burundi into a shadow since 1962” – a reference to violence that followed the country’s independence.

Mr Nyamitwe’s brother Alain Aime Nyamitwe, who is Burundi’s foreign minister, denounced the shooting as “another vain attempt to disturb republican institutions”.

Embattled Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has been busy seeking support ahead of the forthcoming African Union (AU) summit
Embattled Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza

President Nkurunziza won a third term in July 2015 in an election described by the opposition as a “joke” after an attempted coup by army officers failed.

In September UN investigators said thousands of people had been tortured, suffered sexual abuse or disappeared and warned of the danger of genocide.

The Burundi authorities responded by banning the investigators from the country.

Burundi is also one of three African countries to have announced their intention to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, which has only ever tried African defendants.

The decision came six months after the ICC said it also wanted to investigate the violence in Burundi.

The UN has accused neighbouring Rwanda of supporting Burundian rebels – an allegation denied by Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame. BBC News