Burundi President Calls for Military Unity After Army Chief Assassination Attempt
Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza has called on the nation’s military to unite following an assassination attempt against the leading army chief.
General Prime Niyongabo survived the the attack, but six people where killed and six more injured in the ambush. Witnesses reported that a military vehicle and assailants in military uniforms carried out the attack, fueling concerns of a divided military and potential civil war in the country.
Another assassination attempt
The assignation plot was the latest in a series of attacks on key figures following the third term of President Nkurunziza. Military uniforms and equipment have been used in recent attacks and this latest plot was described as “meticulously prepared” by a senior police source.
Deputy Spokesman, Louis Kamwenubusa, made a public announcement on the president’s behalf on Friday:
“Such an attack has an objective of creating chaos within security forces,” he said. “The head of state asks members of those corps to stay calm and united in a bid to avoid falling into the trap of the enemy.”
Fears over civil war resurface
The latest string of attacks follow an attempted military coup in May by several renegade army officials. However, their efforts to oust Nkurunziza failed and General Prime Niyongabo played a key role in foiling the attempt to overthrow the acting president.
Diplomats are worried Burundi could slide back into a state of civil war if military divides can’t be healed and the danger of an ethnic split in the country is very real. 300,000 people were killed in Burundi’s previous civil war, a conflict that only ended in 2005 after 12 years of ethnically charged violence across the country.
Resident’s in the nation’s capital are speaking of an “emerging rebellion” and many feel civil war has already broken out on the streets of Bujumbura. Opposition leaders have also been victim to separate attacks since Nkurunziza’s third term was confirmed with UDP leader Zedi Feruzi the latest opposition figure to be killed in the capital.
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