At least four people were killed on Friday when gunmen ambushed the Burundian army’s chief of staff in a failed assassination attempt, local media and a morgue source said.

The Iwacu newspaper said three soldiers and three gunmen were killed in the early morning attack in the capital Bujumbura but that General Prime Niyongabo had survived. A morgue source told Reuters an army pick-up had brought in four dead soldiers.


Niyongabo is the highest-ranking official to be targeted in a series of attacks on officials since April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was seeking a third term, something the opposition says violated the constitution and a peace deal that ended an ethnically charged civil war in 2005.

Earlier this week, gunmen shot dead an opposition official and last month General Adolphe Nshimirimana, who was in charge of the president’s personal security, was killed in an ambush.

A local leader of the ruling party and a prominent rights activist have also been killed.

Nkurunziza was sworn in on August 20 for another five-year term. His party won a sweeping victory in a parliamentary election that the European Union and the United States said was not free or fair.

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