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Burundi opposition leader killed

May 23, 2015

A Burundi opposition figure and at least one of his bodyguards have been killed in a drive-by shooting in the capital, according to local media. The incident risks aggravating tensions in the central African state.

Bujumbura Burundi Protest Gewalt Zedi Feruzi erschossen
Image: Getty Images/AFP/C.d. Souza

Local media reported that Zedi Feruzi, the leader of opposition party Union for Peace and Development (UPD)-Zigamibanga, was shot dead outside his house by unknown gunmen in the capital, Bujumbura, on Saturday.

"We heard around 20 gunshots, everyone fell to the ground, people saw a Toyota car speeding away," said a neighbor, who did not witness the shooting himself, speaking to the Agence France-Presse news agency.

A reporter at the scene, working with AFP, saw the bloodied bodies of both Feruzi and a police bodyguard lying outside the house after the drive-by shooting, the agency reported.

Residents said a third person, believed to be another police officer who protected Feruzi, was seriously injured in the incident.

Further tensions

The killings came a day after an attack on a busy market in Bujumbura left three people dead.

The incident risks aggravating tensions in Burundi, a country gripped by weeks of anti-government demonstrations triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial decision to seek a third term in office in June.

Nkurunziza's decision late last month set off an attempted, though ultimately unsuccessful, coup.

At least 20 people have died and 431 people have been wounded in protests against Nkurunziza.

ra/cmk (AFP, Reuters)