Fresh protests in Burundi

2015-05-18 12:58
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Bujumbura - Demonstrations resumed in Burundi's capital on Monday, launching a third week of protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's third-term bid for the presidency after a failed coup.

Soldiers were patrolling the city centre of Bujumbura after gunshots were fired in the neighbourhoods of Nyakabiga, Ngagara and Cibitoke, witnesses said.

Nkurunziza made his first public appearance since the attempted coup on Sunday, warning that Burundi might be targeted by militant group al-Shabaab because the small East African nation contributed troops to an African Union mission to uproot the insurgents.

The president returned to Burundi on Friday, sparking new protests the next day that were quickly dispersed.

Nkurunziza also met with ruling party officials as part of an election campaign. Local government polls are scheduled for May 26, and presidential elections are due to be held June 26.

Massive protests

Former intelligence chief Major-General Godefroid Niyombare attempted to seize power in Burundi last week while the president was attending a regional summit in neighbouring Tanzania.

Niyombare had been sacked from his intelligence job by Nkurunziza earlier this year after criticising the president's bid to seek a third term in office.

Burundi's constitution stipulates a maximum of two terms for the presidency, and Nkurunziza's candidacy sparked massive protests that have turned deadly in recent weeks, reportedly killing 20 people.

Coup supporters and independent journalists critical of the government had reportedly gone into hiding, while the streets were being patrolled by soldiers.

Dozens of people were arrested, with 17 appearing before the High Court on Saturday.

Nearly 105 000 Burundians fled to neighbouring countries to escape the violence, according to the United Nations.

The US embassy in Burundi, meanwhile, said it was offering to evacuate its citizens to neighbouring Rwanda.

Read more on:    pierre nkurunziza  |  burundi  |  east africa  |  burundi protests

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