Opposition member killed during vote in Burundi

Opposition supporter in Burundi fatally shot amidst rising tensions over disputed presidential elections

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

An opposition supporter was killed on Wednesday night as Burundi awaits the results of the disputed country’s presidential elections, whose incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office sparked weeks of ongoing violence.

Hundreds of angry mourners turned up to the funeral of slain opposition supporter, Emmanuel Ndereyimana, a member of leading opposition figure Agathon Rwasa’s FNL political group. He was killed by a fatal gunshot wound during electoral violence, according to witnesses.

A friend of the slain supporters, Salum Kazadi, reported on Thursday that his friend Emmanuel Ndereyimana was assassinated outside the door of his home by members of the government.

Nkurunziza is widely expected to win a third consecutive term, given his rival candidates have so little political impact in the country’s political atmosphere. Critics state that Nkurunziza’s effort to extend his time in power is unconstitutional.

The Burundian constitution clearly stipulates a president is only allowed to claim office for two terms. However, Nkurunziza’s supporters attribute the much questioned legitimacy of the president’s third bid to the first term being instated through collective choice of lawmakers, rather than conventional elections.

Opposition figure Agathon Rwasa stated that his campaign was continuously interrupted by government security agencies.

With Burundians fleeing from the tensions over their country’s disputed presidential polls, Nyarugusu refugee camp, near the Tanzania- Burundi border, reached “breaking point” after receiving about 2,500 Burundians on a weekly bases.

The refugee camp was simply not coping with the weekly heavy inflow of refugees, Doctors without Borders (MSF) told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

Refugee crisis

Aid agencies were struggling to distribute sufficient food, water, shelter and healthcare to the weekly inflow of refugees and the second camp has not been built yet, MSF spokesperson stated.

The Tanzania's Nyarugusu camp, which was built in 1997 to host a maximum of 50,000 Congolese refugees displaced from their country’s civil war, is quickly reaching 250 percent of its actual capacity.

There are 65,000 Congolese refugees already living in the Nyarugusu refugee camp, and now there are 135,000 Congolese and Burundians seeking refuge in the camp.

With the ongoing tensions and continued conflicts on the streets of Burundi between opposition supporters and police concerning the disputed presidential polls, aid agencies are worried the crisis will only deepen.

"[We are] expecting a bigger influx of Burundian refugees into Tanzania. Looking at the latest UNHCR figures, there have been nearly an additional 6,000 individuals who have fled the country overnight," Sarah Pickwick, senior conflict adviser of NGO World Vision UK told Al Jazeera.

"There is an urgent need for funding to ensure that we meet the critical needs. The UN reports that its $324 million appeal for the entire regional crisis in May has only been 13 percent funded. This is the primary reason for the conditions we are presently seeing within Nyarugusu where the overstretched camp has thousands of refugees living in squalid and deplorable conditions," Pickwick said.

More than 79,000 Burundians have arrived in Tanzania since May, as reported by the UNHCR on Wednesday. 500 people were arriving every day as estimated by the UN.

TRTWorld and agencies