Human rights activist Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa left Burundi on Sunday (9 August) to seek treatment in Belgium after he was the victim of an attempted assassination in the capital Bujumbura on 3 August.

Hit by two bullets to the face and neck, Mbonimpa was seriously injured, and was originally treated in Bujumbura before being flown to Belgium.

"Since the assassination attempt, we have been insisting that his safety was threatened, that there was a risk of him being killed in his hospital bed by the very people who had wanted to murder him," Jeremie Minani, the spokesman of the Movement Arusha coalition, the umbrella platform that brings together civil society and opposition who are against President Pierre Nkurunziza's third term, told RFI.

'I could have died', claims former VP

The attack has highlighted the increasingly precarious life of Burundi's opposition leaders, such as former vice president Frédéric Bamvuginyumvira, who was also victim of an attack on his property last month.

"[I was] attacked by unknown people from behind the house and I just escaped. [It's a] miracle," he said. When asked by IBTimes UK if he thought he could be dead today, he added: "Yes, you are quite right."

On 23 May, opposition leader, Zedi Feruzi, and his bodyguard, were killed at point blank range by unidentified men with Kalashnikovs. The Muslim leader of a minority party, the Union for Peace and Democracy (UPD), was killed on his way home in the capital's district of Ngagara.

"Today, you'll see that everybody who is a threat for this government is followed by secret policemen and even if he does something that is not wrong, he is put in jail, and maybe he is killed in a public place, on the road for example," Bamvuginyumvira told IBTimes UK in his home in Bujumbura.

The former vice president also fears arms could be planted in his garden, and he could be accused of holding ammunition in his home.

Frédéric Bamvuginyumvira Burundi
The former vice president says he feels imprisoned in his own home IBTimes UK/ Elsa Buchanan

Bamvuginyumvira, who initially had policemen ensuring his security, claims to have discharged the men, who he accuses of "acting like spies" for the government.

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