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A policeman walks at the crime scene where Burundian General Athanase Kararuza was attacked and killed by unknown gunmen in Ntahangwa commune, north of the capital Bujumbura, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Evrard Ngendakumana

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By Michelle Nichols

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the assassination on Monday of a Burundian brigadier general who had served with the African Union and U.N. peacekeeping missions in Central African Republic.

Brigadier General Athanase Kararuza and his wife and daughter were killed in the country's capital Bujumbura, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement. Kararuza was a military adviser in the office of Burundi's vice president.

Dujarric said Kararuza's death followed several instances of politically motivated assassination attempts in Burundi in recent weeks, including an attack on Sunday on Martin Nivyabandi, Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender and attacks on prominent members of the security forces.

"All such acts of violence serve no purpose other than to worsen the already volatile situation in Burundi. The Secretary-General urges that a rigorous and prompt investigation of these events is undertaken," Dujarric said.

"(Ban) calls on all political leaders, including those in exile, to firmly renounce the use of violence in pursuit of political agendas and commit to an inclusive and genuine dialogue," he said.

Tit-for-tat attacks between President Pierre Nkurunziza's security forces and his opponents have escalated since April 2015 when he announced a disputed bid for a third term as president and won re-election in July. The U.N. says more than 400 people have been killed and over 250,000 have fled.

The international war crimes court will investigate the outbreaks of violence in Burundi, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said on Monday.

More than two decades after the 1994 genocide of ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus by the Hutu majority in neighbouring Rwanda, the United Nations is under growing pressure to show it can halt the bloodshed in Burundi. Rwanda and Burundi have a similar ethnic makeup.

The U.N. Security Council is considering options for deploying between 20 and 3,000 police to Burundi to help quell simmering political violence, though the government has signalled it would only accept 20 unarmed experts.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by David Gregorio)

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