SHOT AT: Willy Nyamitwe, President Pierre Nkurunziza'a spokesman

Burundi has accused neighbouring Rwanda of being behind a failed assassination attempt on a top aide of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

Police spokesman Pierre Nkurukiye said instructions were sent from Rwanda to plotters in the Burundian military to kill Willy Nyamitwe.

The attack on Mr Nyamitwe, Mr Nkurunziza’s media adviser and chief spokesman, happened near his home in the Kajaga area outside the capital, Bujumbura, on Monday evening, officials said.

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One of his bodyguards was killed and another injured, while Mr Nyamitwe was slightly wounded on his arm.

A Burundian colonel and two corporals had been arrested, with one of the corporals arrested in Kajaga, Mr Nkurukiye said.

In a tweet in French, Mr Nyamitwe said he was ‘doing well’ but was mourning the death of his bodyguard.

Burundi’s UN ambassador Albert Shingiro said the attack had been carried out by an “axis of evil” that had “cast Burundi into a shadow since 1962” – a reference to violence that followed the country’s independence.

Mr Nyamitwe’s brother Alain Aime Nyamitwe, who is Burundi’s foreign minister, denounced the shooting as “another vain attempt to disturb republican institutions”.

Rwanda has not yet commented on the allegation but it has denied similar allegations in the past.

Relations between the two states have deteriorated over the last year.

Burundi accuses Rwanda of hosting army officers who plotted a coup against Mr Nkurunziza in May 2015 after he announced he was running for a third presidential term.

“Rwanda’s role in the current crisis in Burundi is undeniable,” Mr Nkurikiye said. “It is the same enemy, they are criminals based in Kigali.”

In a statement, the Burundian government also urged Belgium to hand over an opposition activist, Pacifique Nininahazwe, accused of inciting attacks. Mr Nininahazwe denies this.

In July, a Burundian MP in the East African parliament, Hafsa Mossi, was gunned down in Bujumbura in an attack the government said was directed by Rwanda.

Since the violence began in April 2015 more than 500 people have died and at least 270,000 have fled the conflict in Burundi.




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