Two top military officials in Burundi were assassinated by unknown gunmen in the Burundian capital Bujumbura on Tuesday.

President Nkurunziza of Burundi

On Tuesday around midday, Lieutenant Colonel Darius Ikurakure, who was a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza, was shot and killed at the Defense Ministry compound by a man dressed in a military uniform. The assassin then fled the scene, according to military reports.

Mr. Ikurakure, who was the commander of a battalion in Muzinda, was accused by his opponents of being responsible for arbitrary arrests and killings that have occurred throughout the capital region for almost a year. However, the government denies any involvement in extrajudicial killings and has been under intense international pressure for these crimes.

Hours after Mr. Ikurakure's assassination, Major Didier Muhimpundu was shot and killed outside a bar in Bujumbura, according to police spokesman Moise Nkurunziza.

The assassination of the late major marks the latest act of political violence committed in Burundi, where a crisis surrounding the re-election of President Nkurunziza has been ongoing for nearly a year.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the first assassination yesterday.

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