Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Six killed in Burundi protests

At least six people have been killed in street clashes between the police and civilians demonstrating against the Burundian president's bid for a third term, a spokesman for the Burundi Red Cross has said.

Hundreds continued to gather in the streets of the capital today despite a heavy military presence.

Three people were killed in clashes with the police yesterday and three others died of their injuries overnight, Alexis Manirakiza said. Seven more people had been wounded, he said.

Bujumbura has been hit by protests after the ruling party nominated president Pierre Nkurunziza for another term, which many say is unconstitutional.

Hundreds of demonstrators erected barricades and set tires alight in Bujumbura. The military was deployed on the streets after violent clashes yesterday.

Presidential elections are scheduled for June 26 and political tensions have been rising since the start of the year.

Burundi's constitution says the president "is elected by universal direct suffrage for a mandate of five years renewable one time", but Mr Nkurunziza's supporters say he is eligible to serve a third term because he was first installed as president in 2005 by parliament to lead a transitional government, and not by a popular vote.

He won the 2010 election as the sole candidate. Opposition members boycotted, saying they feared it would be rigged.

More than 250,000 people died in Burundi's civil war between Hutu rebels and a Tutsi-dominated army. The 2003 Arusha Peace Accord ended the war.

Those who oppose Mr Nkurunziza, an ethnic Hutu, running for a third term include members of his own party, lawmakers, the clergy, student groups and civil society.

More than 10,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring Rwanda, citing pressure to support Mr Nkurunziza's party.

Others alleged violence by the ruling party's youth wing, known as Imbonerakure, according to the UN refugee agency.

Human Rights Watch has accused the Imbonerakure of committing serious rights abuses.


From Belfast Telegraph