Four arrests in connection with Environment Minister Assassination

Emmanuel Niyonkuru, Environment Minister killed on his way back home, on 1 January.

Emmanuel Niyonkuru, Environment Minister killed on his way back home, on 1 January.

A woman, two guards and the owner of “Chez André” restaurant have been arrested for investigation following the assassination of the Minister of Water and Environment.

Emmanuel Niyonkuru, 54, was killed on 1 January by a criminal with a gun at about 00: 45 local time while going back to his home in Rohero neighborhood of Mukaza municipality in Bujumbura city, police report.

Pierre Nkurikiye, Police Spokesman, says the criminal would be the woman who was with the minister in the vehicle or the guard who opened the gate. “Following his assassination scene, there is no doubt, his murderer was in the vehicle”, he says. Nkurikiye says the owner of “Chez André” restaurant has also been arrested because the victim was coming from there. Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza said the crime would not go unpunished.

Philippe Nzobonariba, the state spokesperson, says this shameful act is part of a series of other targeted killings of high-level government officials by criminals who have chosen the path of terrorism as a sign of bravery.

Nzobonariba says Burundi government has recommended an urgent and serious investigation to identify the murderers.
On 1 January, two other people were killed by unknown armed men in an attack perpetrated in Nyamaboko area of Muha commune in the capital Bujumbura at around 9 pm.

Seven women who were praying in a room have been wounded in a grenade explosion in Muzinda area of Gihanga Commune in Bubanza Province on the eve of the New Year.

Public security officials had said necessary measures had been taken to ensure people’s safety during the celebration of Christmas and New Year. On Christmas Eve, Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, Minister of Public Security, said special law enforcement units had been deployed specifically to secure the capital Bujumbura during this period of festivities.

Since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a third term in April 2015, hundreds of people have been killed, including high-ranking army officials. Emmanuel Niyonkuru is the first high level government official to be assassinated.