Saturday, March 26, 2016 5:37 pm
The assassination of Colonel Darius Ikurakure, a loyal military officer to President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi has been claimed by a rebel group.
FOREBU, led by an army officer who once tried to topple Nkurunziza, made the claim on a Twitter account today.
The claim will add to international worries that Burundi’s year-long political crisis is sliding towards a full-blown conflict. More than 400 people have died so far.
Lieutenant Colonel Darius Ikurakure was shot dead on Tuesday by an assassin dressed in a military uniform, the army said. Soldiers gave similar accounts and also said he was killed inside the ministry compound in the capital Bujumbura.
“We promised the people to defend them. We are at work. We will not stop until the mission is accomplished,” FOREBU announced on a Twitter account. Journalists confirmed the account had been used for other FOREBU statements.
“Those who took that oath are behind the operation against Lt Col D. Ikurakure. You’ll see them again soon. For, it is just the beginning,” it said.
It was not possible to get independent comment from members of FOREBU, who has said it is led by Godefroid Niyombare, a former intelligence chief and senior army officer behind an attempted coup in May.
The government had said this week it had retrieved the weapon used in the assassination and was pursuing the killer.
Burundi’s crisis was sparked by Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in April last year, a move the opposition said violated the constitution and the terms of a peace deal that ended the nation’s 1993-2005 civil war that left 300,000 dead.
The government cited a court ruling saying the president could run again. Nkurunziza won a disputed election in July.