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Wounded Burundi activist is hospitalized but not in danger

August 4, 2015

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — A prominent Burundi rights activist is hospitalized but his life is not in danger after being shot Monday night, his daughter said Tuesday.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, injured in the face and neck, is conscious and being monitored in a local hospital, Zygene Mbonimpa told The Associated Press. She dismissed reports that a bullet remains in Mbonimpa’s neck.

The attack on Mbonimpa has raised fears of revenge attacks on the regime’s perceived opponents after a top military general, Adolphe Nshimirimana, was assassinated in a drive-by shooting Sunday. There has been sporadic gunfire throughout Bujumbura since Sunday.

Mbonimpa, 67, is one of Burundi’s most prominent and respected activists, said Human Rights Watch, which urged Burundi’s authorities to ensure his safety and protection.

Mbonimpa, the president of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons, was arrested in May 2014 and charged with endangering state security in connection with remarks he made on the radio. He was provisionally released on medical grounds after falling ill, but the charges against him have not been dropped, according to the rights group.

Bujumbura has been hit by violence since April when the ruling party announced that President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek re-election for a third term. The police used force to break up frequent street protests in which more than 100 people died, according to watchdog groups. Nkurunziza was re-elected last month in elections that were widely condemned as unfair.

A shootout erupted Tuesday on a road bordering Lake Tanganyika near downtown Bujumbura as gunmen in a car opened fire on a car carrying a military officer. The officer was wounded and his two bodyguards were killed, said witness Isaac Nduwayezu.

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