Nkurunziza downplays unrest, promises peaceful elections

Amid deadly clashes in capital, Burundi president says most of country safe, elections will be held in peace

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza said on Wednesday that security reigns in most of the country and the elections will be held in peace.

His comments on a nationally broadcasted address came amid continuing clashes on the streets of capital Bujumbura.

Earlier on Wednesday, Burundian police shot dead a soldier during clashes with demonstrators on the streets of the capital.

“Peace and security reign over 99.9 percent of Burundian territory and people are going about normally in their activities,” Nkurunziza said downplaying the clashes in the capital.

After international pressure and recommendations from election commission, president’s office announced earlier on Wednesday that parliamentary and local elections were postponed from May 26 to June 5.

“The elections will take place in peace and tranquility,” the president said.

More than 20 people died in weeks of clashes triggered by Nkurunziza’s desire to run for a third term in office.

A coup attempt to depose Nkurunziza was foiled last week and responsible generals were arrested.  

Burundian constitution restricts presidents to two terms but Nkurunziza claims his first term does not count as he was elected by the parliament but not the public and that insists to run for a third term.

Opposition claim a third term is unconstitutional and urge the president not to run.

More than 100,000 Burundians fled to neighbouring countries because of the weeks of violent clashes between the security forces and the protesters.

TRTWorld and agencies