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Six arrested in connection with assassination of Burundi minister

BUJUMBURA Burundi (Xinhua) -- At least six suspects have been arrested in connection with the assassination in the Burundian capital Bujumbura, of Burundian Environment Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru, the Burundian attorney general said Saturday in a statement.

"Investigations started right after the crime and six suspects have already been arrested.

"They include two women and four men. Investigations are continuing and as soon they are over, the case will be taken to the competent tribunal so that culprits can be sanctioned in accordance with the law," Burundian Attorney General Sylvestre Nyandwi said in the statement.

According to him, the victim was shot dead with a firearm below his right ear in front of the gate of his house in Rohero as he was entering his home in a car from the bar-restaurant known as "Chez Andre" in Rohero neighborhood.

The boss of the bar-restaurant known as "Chez Andre", Benoit Ndorimana, is reported to be among the suspects and was also arrested.

Burundian Police Spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said that Burundian Water, Environment, Territory Planning and Urbanization Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru was killed, in the early hours on January 1, by a gunman who used a pistol to shoot him, adding that the criminal was in the same car driven by the minister.

Right after the crime, three persons including two watchmen and a woman were arrested in connection with the assassination.

The woman was also in the same car driven by the killed minister.

The body of the assassinated minister is expected to be buried next week on Tuesday.

Born at Rutegama in Muramvya province, Emmanuel Niyonkuru, 54, was an economist and was the minister for water, environment and territory planning since August 2015.

Between 1992 and 2015, he worked at the Burundi Central Bank.

Violence targeting senior leaders is again on the rise in the east African nation, which is facing a political turmoil that broke out since April 2015 following the announcement by Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza that he would be seeking a third term.

His candidature, which was opposed by the opposition and civil society groups, resulted into a wave of protests, violence and even a failed coup on May 13, 2015.

Over 500 persons are reported to have been killed since then while over 300,000 citizens sought exile in neighboring countries.


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