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Burundi: 6 die in clashes between police and protesters

July 1, 2015

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Six people have been killed as protesters clashed with security forces in a neighborhood southeast of the capital, Bujumbura, police said.

Five protesters and a policeman were killed in the confrontation, Burundian police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye said.

He said the police were trying to disarm protesters in Mutakura when they came under attack and used lethal force to disperse the attackers.

There was also a separate grenade attack targeting police in the area in which seven civilians were wounded, he said.

Police recovered military equipment, including two machine guns and ammunition, during the operation, Nkurikiye said.

Burundi has been hit by violence since the announcement in April that the ruling party had nominated President Pierre Nkurunziza to be its candidate in presidential elections set for July 15.

Protesters say Nkurunziza must go after serving two terms, the maximum allowed under the country’s constitution. But Nkurunziza’s supporters say he is eligible for a third term because he was chosen by lawmakers — and not popularly elected — for his first term, and the constitutional court has ruled in the president’s favor.

At least 77 people have died in street protests opposing Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term, according to rights activists. Hundreds more have been wounded.

The street protests boiled over in mid-May, leading to an attempted coup.

On Monday, Burundians voted in parliamentary elections despite persistent calls from the international community for the polls to be postponed until the country is peaceful enough. Results are expected to be announced later this week.

Update hourly