600 arrests during Burundi protests

Burundi government clamps down on protesters arresting 600 after the grenade attack targeting policemen

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

After the grenade attack killing two policeman in Burundi on Friday, the Burundi government started a crackdown against protesters arresting 600.

Burundi’s police department arrested the individuals during protests sparked by the president's bid to stay in power.

Three people, including two policemen, were killed and several others were wounded in the grenade attack targeting policemen in the country’s capital of Bujumbura’s Kemenge district, where protests remain heated.

Police director General Andre Ndayambaje told AFP news agency that two officers were killed and one was wounded, while a local resident said a civilian also lost his life and two others were wounded.

A senior police officer, who requested anonymity told reuters that, "It is clear that the demonstrators launched the simultaneous attacks."

"If they want war, they will get war," he added.

According to Reuters, a Burundian analyst was more cautious, saying the attacks could have been the work of protesters but could also be being manipulated to give credit to the official theory of an armed demonstration.

Police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye told AFP that 577 arrests have been made, with nearly 250 cases sent for prosecution and 150 undergoing questioning. The remaining people were released.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, Agnes Bangiricenge, said those charged would be tried for taking part in an uprising and risked between five years and life behind bars.

The east African nation has been hit by a new wave of protests in opposition to President Pierre Nkurunziza's re-election for a third term while Burundi's constitution stipulates that a president can only serve for two terms.

The constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because his first term was picked by lawmakers and not by elections.