Burundian Water and Environment Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru Assassinated in Bujumbura

Emmanuel Niyonkuru, Burundi water, environment and planning minister

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Emmanuel Niyonkuru, Burundi  water, environment and planning minister has been shot dead in the capital Bujumbura, Police spokesperson and public information officer, Pierre Nkurikiye has said in a tweet, early Sunday on January 1, 2017.   According to the sources in Bujumbura, Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru was killed shortly after midnight,  a moment into the new year.

"Minister of water and environment killed  with a pistol on  his way home to Rohero, around 00:45 ... a woman who was with him was detained for further investigations, " Pierre Nkurikiye tweeted.

Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza, in a tweet, said: "Last night, Minister Emmanuel Niyonkuru was assassinated.  Condolences to the family and all Burundians.  The crime will not go  unpunished."

Burundi, a small and impoverished country located in the heart of African Great Lakes Region, has been going through political unrests since  Pierre Nkurunziza  defied d the constitutions of his country to seek a third term. It has  been slowly and steadily sliding into the chaos and human tragedy, with unpredictable consequences. Many government officials and high ranking military officers have been assassinated or escaped assassinations. Burundian government has accused the government of Rwanda of being behind the assassinations. On November 29, 2016, a top adviser of Pierre Nkurunziza, Willy Nyamitwe, escaped assassination but his driver was killed.

In August 2015, a  leading Burundian general and close aide to President Pierre Nkurunziza, General Adolphe Nshimirimana,  was killed in a rocket attack on his car in the capital Bujumbura, in a drive-by shooting.  General Adolphe Nshimirimana, was widely seen as  de facto Burundi internal security chief and the president's effective deputy.

In April 2016, Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza, a military adviser in the office of Burundi's vice president,  and his wife and daughter were killed I Bujumbura. 

In July 2016, a Burundian MP in the East African parliament, Hafsa Mossi, was gunned down in Bujumbura in an attack the government said was directed by Rwanda.

In an press conference on Friday, December 30, 2016, Pierre Nkuruniziza has hinted at changing the constitution to seek an illegal fourth term, at the end of the controversial current term.