Burundi president fires newly-appointed intelligence chief


Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza has fired his intelligence chief less than three months after appointing him, according to a presidential decree.

Major General Godefroid Niyombare, who previously served as ambassador to Kenya, was appointed head of intelligence in November.

The decree, posted on the presidency website on Wednesday, said Niyombare had been dismissed, but gave no reason.

Burundi’s presidency was not immediately available for comment.

Political tensions are mounting ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections this year. Supporters of the president have called for him to serve a third term, while opponents say he can only serve two.

There is a dispute over whether the constitution permits him to stay on, based on whether Nkurunziza’s first term, when he was picked by lawmakers rather than direct elections, counts.

Nkurunziza has not said if he will run or not.

Rights groups have criticised what they call a clampdown on opposition voices in Burundi. The U.N. Security Council has also expressed concern over reports of intimidation, harassment and arbitrary detention of rights activists and journalists.