Gunmen Shoot Dead East African Lawmaker in Burundi’s Capital

  • Hafsa Mossi had been member of regional legislative assembly
  • Killing is latest violence in crisis that’s claimed 470 lives

Gunmen shot dead an East African parliament lawmaker in the capital of Burundi, the latest violence in the country’s 14-month political crisis that’s claimed more than 470 lives.

Hafsa Mossi was killed by unidentified assailants in Bujumbura’s eastern Mutanga district at about 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said. A resident of the area, Achel Majabuka, told reporters that he heard gunshots and saw two men escape by car.

Mossi, a former Burundi information minister, had represented the country in the East African Legislative Assembly since 2012. She was previously a journalist with the British Broadcasting Corp.’s Swahili-language service, according to the BBC.

Landlocked Burundi has been gripped by violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza decided in April 2015 to run for a third term, a move his opponents said was unconstitutional. Peace talks due to be held in the northern Tanzanian city of Arusha this week have stalled amid a dispute over who can participate.

“Hafsa Mossi’s death, the latest in a disturbing string of high-profile killings, is a great loss to the people of Burundi and the East African region,” Amnesty International’s regional director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Muthoni Wanyeki, said in a statement. He urged a prompt, independent investigation.

The EALA is an organ of the East African Community, a regional trade bloc aspiring to adopt a single currency and political federation. Members also include Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and South Sudan.

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