Gunfire rang out in Burundi's capital Sunday night after the killing of a feared military general who was a close ally of President Pierre Nkurunziza, raising fears of revenge killings and further violence.
Nkurunziza, who was re-elected last month in a controversial bid for a third term, said in a televised address that he has ordered the police to find Lt. Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana's killers within 10 days.
Nshimirimana, who was the senior presidential adviser for internal security, was killed in a drive-by shooting early Sunday in the capital, Bujumbura.
Carina Tertsakian, who researches Burundi for Human Rights Watch, said Nshimirimana was "one of the key hard-liners around the president" and became even more influential as Nkurunziza faced regular street protests by civilians who wanted Nkurunziza to retire after serving for two terms.
"Despite or perhaps because of his brutal reputation, Adolphe was generally seen as untouchable, with no one in a position of power daring, or even suggesting, holding him to account," she said.
Human Rights Watch has received frequent allegations that Nshimirimana was behind many incidents of killing, torture, arrests of suspected opponents and other abuses over the past several years, Tertsakian said.
Nshimirimana, a former army chief of staff as well as head of the intelligence services, is believed to have helped to defeat an attempted coup against Nkurunziza in May.
The U.S. has condemned the killing and is urging restraint.
Nkurunziza won the July 21 presidential election with 69 percent of the vote. International observers have condemned the elections as not credible because of violence, intimidation, media restrictions and questions over the legitimacy of a third term for Nkurunziza.