October 9, 2015 / 12:10 PM / 2 years ago

Son-in-law of Burundian activist shot dead in capital

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Attackers armed with guns and grenades killed the son-in-law of a prominent Burundian human rights activist and campaigner against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s divisive bid for a third term in office on Friday, police and a relative said.

Pascal Nshirimana, the son-in-law of Pierre Clave Mbonimpa, was ambushed by a group of people on motorbikes at around noon at the gate of his home in the capital, Bujumbura, they added.

Mbonimpa, who heads the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH), was himself shot and wounded in August by gunmen on motorbikes, and is receiving treatment in Belgium.

Activists and authorities have reported a number of apparently targeted killings in the central African country which was thrown into crisis in April when Nkurunziza’s plan to remain in office triggered weeks of protests and a failed coup.

Nkurunziza ultimately won in a disputed vote, but tensions have remained high in Bujumbura with frequent clashes between security forces and residents in anti-Nkurunziza strongholds.

“Two people on a motorbike shot at him (Nshirimana) and threw grenades as he was at the gate waiting for it to open. He died immediately,” said a relative who declined to be named. “He was not a politician. He was just a businessman.”

Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye confirmed the details of Nshirimana’s death but said it was not politically-motivated.

“Many think he was killed because he was in-law of Pierre Claver Mbonimpa; but it is not true,” Nkurikiye said. “We have attributed the incident to a settling of accounts with businessmen he was working with.”

Reporting by Clement Uwiringiyimana; Writing by Edith Honan; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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