A senior member of a pro-government youth group known as Imbonerakure in Burundi has been beheaded and his wife shot dead by unknown gunmen, government officials and police have said.
Members of Imbonerakure have been accused by Human rights groups of committing human rights violations in the east African nation.
The Burundian government denies that state agents are responsible for human rights violations, and the ruling party has also categorically rejected allegations that the Imbonerakure have committed abuses.
The government has called Imbonerakure peaceful. Burundi has faced a political, human rights, and humanitarian crisis since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to run for a disputed third term.
A constitutional referendum was held on May 17, 2018 in the context of widespread ill-treatment by local authorities, the police, and members of the ruling party’s youth league, the Imbonerakure – with no consequences for the abuse, human rights watch said.
Public security ministry spokesperson Pierre Nkurikiye confirmed the attack, saying the assailants killed Daniel Ngendakumana on Wednesday and his wife before they fled. He said police had launched investigations into the matter to establish the motive.
Ngendakumana was a leader of Imbonerakure youth league in Kayanza province in northern Burundi. He lived on Buyumpu hill at the border with Rwanda.
The governor of Kayanza province Anicet Ndayizeye said Ngendakumana was decapitated and he suspected that the attackers could have come from Rwanda.
Burundi has previously accused neighbouring Rwanda of training rebels with the aim of destabilizing Burundi, a claim Rwanda has repeatedly denied.
On September 5, a UN Commission of Inquiry on Burundi published a report accusing the ruling party of Nkurunziza of committing crimes against humanity. Burundi government denied the allegations.