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Top Burundi official escapes assassination bid


map_of_burundiA top Burundian government official narrowly survived an assassination attempt in the capital Bujumbura on Friday, police said, with gunmen killing his bodyguard as they opened fire on his convoy.

A presidential advisor and a top member of the ruling CNDD-FDD party, Zenon Ndaruvukanye is one of the most influential figures in the government of the troubled central African nation.

Senior police official said two “criminals” were arrested and a large haul of weapons seized following the attack in Bujumbura, including 27 AK-47 rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and a mortar.

Burundi descended into violence in April after President Pierre Nkurunziza launched a now successful bid for a third consecutive term in office, despite concerns over the legality of such a move. At least 240 people have been killed and more than 200,000 have fled the country since.

Presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho confirmed an assassination attempt on a “political figure”.

In August, top general Adolphe Nshimirimana — widely seen as the country’s de-facto internal security chief — was killed in a rocket attack. In September, army chief Prime Niyongabo escaped an ambush.

Armed clashes between gunmen and security forces are a near daily event. On Thursday, a civilian and a policeman were killed in a grenade attack, while at least six people were killed Tuesday and Wednesday in separate clashes across the capital.

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