Gunshots heard as 100s take to the streets in Bujumbura

2015-05-25 14:12
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Bujumbura - Hundreds of anti-government protesters took to the streets of Burundian capital Bujumbura on Monday after an opposition politician was killed at the weekend.

Demonstrations against President Pierre Nkurunziza's plans to seek a third term in office in the June elections despite a constitution two-term limit have gone on for nearly a month.

The government has denied involvement in the killing of Zedi Feruzi, leader of the small opposition party Union for Peace and Democracy (UPD), but demonstrators were not convinced.

"Feruzi died for democracy and his death will never stop Burundians from defending the constitution," said Pacifique Nininahazwe, a civil society leader, who announced "full-force" protests in defiance of a government ban.

"Those who killed Feruzi will not win - no matter how long it takes," read a message carried by protesters in the neighbourhood of Cibitoke.

Protesters erected burning barricades. Gunshots were heard in some neighbourhoods, with demonstrators saying police were using live bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowds.

Investigation

Human rights activists say more than 25 people have been killed in the protests so far.

Feruzi was gunned down when returning home in Bujumbura on Saturday. The government has ordered an investigation into the incident. The opposition suspended its dialogue with the government over suspicions of involvement.

Agathon Rwasa, leader of the main opposition party National Forces of Liberation (FNL), said Feruzi may have been killed because of his support for the protests and his close relations with Hussein Radjabu, a former secretary general of the ruling CNDD-FDD party who is now an opponent of the president.

Pierre Claver Mbonimpa from Burundi's Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODH) said Feruzi had expressed concern about his safety.

The government has denied claims by APRODH that is has drawn a hit list of people to be killed by the ruling party's ill-famed youth wing, the Imbonerakure.

Nkurunziza thwarted a coup attempt mid-May. He subsequently announced a postponement of legislative and local elections by 10 days to June 5, but did not delay the presidential polls, which are scheduled for June 26.

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

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