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BURUNDI: 3 People Killed In Ongoing Burundi Presidential Elections


The death toll stood at three in Burundi on Tuesday as simmering violence added to the cloud over a controversial presidential election that has been boycotted by the opposition.


Police spokesman, Pierre Nkurikiye, said a civilian and a police officer were killed overnight in an explosion in Bujumbura.

“Another civilian was also killed in the morning,” he said.

Witnesses said the third victim was gunned down by police.

Nkurikiye blamed the violence on the ‘plotters of a coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza,’ which was thwarted in May.

A feeble turnout was reported at many Bujumbura polling stations.

“Voters had been scared away by the violence,” a polling agent who asked not to be named, said.

In some neighbourhoods, barricades were erected to protest against Nkurunziza’s bid to seek a third term in office.

The president’s April 25 announcement of his re-election bid sparked months of demonstrations in the East African country, leading to about 80 deaths in the run-up to Tuesday.

Over 160,000 Burundians have fled to neighbouring countries, with many of them saying they feared attacks by the ruling party’s youth wing, the Imbonerakure.

Meanwhile the army has clashed with soldiers allegedly linked to the coup plotters in the north.

Protesters say Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term violated term limits enshrined in the constitution and the 2000 Arusha agreement, which ended a 12-year civil war in 2005.

The election was postponed twice, from June 26 to July 15 and then to Tuesday, under pressure from the AU, the EU and the US.

But Nkurunziza ignored calls from Ugandan mediators not to stage the vote until the government had reached an agreement with the opposition.

The government broke off talks with the opposition at the weekend, reportedly accusing it of supporting the insurgents.

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, said the dialogue was suspended without agreement being reached on a range of issues.

He said those issues would have contributed to the creation of a climate conducive to the holding of credible and peaceful elections.

Ban urged the authorities to do all in their power to ensure security and a peaceful atmosphere during the election and on all parties to refrain from any acts of violence.

The opposition boycott left only the ruling CNDD-FDD and three parties allied with it to compete for the presidency, which Nkurunziza is widely expected to win.

The ruling party already won an overwhelming majority in parliamentary elections boycotted by the opposition on June 29.
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