Thousands of Burundians Flee from Pre-Election Violence

Protest against President Pierre Nkurunziza running for a third term.

The eruption of pre-election violence in Burundi last month has seen over 50,000 people flee to neighbouring countries and threatens to undo some of the most promising developments in recent refugee history in Africa, the United Nations body tasked with protecting displaced people said in Geneva last week.

Despite of weeks of protest, Burundi's president Pierre Nkurunziza formally registered on May 8 to run for a third term. Opponents say that his plan to run again violates the constitution and a peace deal that ended an ethnically-charged civil war in 2005.

On Thursday, May 7, demonstrations against Burundi's president have degenerated into a man being burned alive in the capital, Bujumbura. Protestors said he was a member of the ruling party's youth wing who had attacked them.

The day when Nkurunziza registered for a third term, hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police in the Nyakabiga district of Bujumbura [...]. Protesters earlier blocked roads and hurled stones at police, who fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds.

In early May, Burundi's Constitutional Court ruled that President Nkurunziza could seek a third term because for his first term he was picked by parliamentarians.  Opponents accused the court of bias.

East African foreign ministers have announced a crisis summit to be hold in the week of May 11.


Photo courtesy of Igor R. Photography.

Read stories from: 
Read more on: