Burundi Soccer Player Survives Assassination Attempt, SOS Says

A player in Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza’s soccer team survived an attempted assassination by unidentified gunmen in the capital, SOS Medias Burundi reported.

The player, identified only as Jamal, was ambushed and shot in the legs as he left his home in Bujumbura’s neighborhood of Buyenzi on Wednesday evening, the group of independent journalists said on its Facebook page, citing a local resident.

Jamal, captain of Hallelujah FC, was taken to hospital and his assailants escaped, SOS said. Nkurunziza, an ex-soccer coach, formed the team with fellow veterans after becoming president at the end of Burundi’s civil war in 2005. He plays as a striker and “scores regularly,” according to his website.

Violence in the East African nation that holds 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves has killed 240 people and forced more than 180,000 to flee their homes since Nkurunziza announced his bid for another term in April. Opponents say his July re-election violates a two-term limit set out in peace accords that ended the 12-year conflict.

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