Burundi faces six more fatalities ahead of poll results

Burundi suffers yet another six deaths before the results of its parliamentary poll are revealed

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Conflict rises in the city’s Cibitoke district resulting to six fatalities before the results of Burundi’s parliamentary poll are revealed this Thursday.

Clashes took place last Wednesday morning in the city’s Cibitoke district in the outskirts of the capital Bujumbura, a main hub for activism against President Pierre Nkurunziza and his disputed bid for a third term, amounting to six dead bodies, witnesses and a police spokesman said.

Police claimed five of those killed Wednesday were "criminals,” unlike the residents, who stated police shot citizens who had "their hands in the air" during house-to-house searches.

"Many, many" guns and grenades had been seized and four people were arrested, police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said.

"Six people have between killed. Five were criminals who attacked the policemen while they were on their patrol," he said.

A witness who did not identify himself but said he had lost a friend in the incident told Reuters, "this is a war that has started. We have no peace at all."

This latest incident has taken the toll to 80 people killed and 500 wounded since April amid protests opposing President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term.

More than 100,000 people have fled across the country’s borders since the start of the crisis, according to the UN.

The fatal event did not stop the celebrations marking the independence day holiday in the former Belgian colony in east Africa.

Burundi has been hit by weeks of civil unrest as the country’s opposition wants Nkurunziza to withdraw his third-term presidential bid, which is widely considered as violating the country's constitution and the Arusha Accords, a peace deal that ended over a decade long ethnic civil war in 2005.

Burundi’s constitution limits the presidency to two terms in office, but Nkurunziza's supporters say he can run again because he was elected to his first term by lawmakers rather than the public.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon last Friday called for the elections to be delayed after the opposition said they would not take part in the polls.

Hours later, Washington said it was suspending assistance for the elections, which it said would not be credible, blaming Nkurunziza for trying to stay in office and violating the terms of a 2006 peace treaty.

Despite the country’s opposition vowing to boycott the polls and the US withdrawing its assistance, Burundi’s elections proceeded on time.

Parliamentary elections were held on Monday and a presidential vote on July 15 will take place after being pushed forward from initial date of June 26.

TRTWorld and agencies