Death toll rises in Burundi as polls loom

Protestors claims police have employed brutal and deadly tactics as they seek to suppress anti-third term protests

Protestors claims police have employed brutal and deadly tactics as they seek to suppress anti-third term protests

After a night of grenade attacks and gunfire in the capital Bujumbura, witnesses say two people have died Sunday in Jabe neighborhood as police crackdown turns deadly 24 hours before polling stations open.

Both victims were killed in two separate grenade attacks although the police first reportedly fired on one of them.

Jabe is one of the areas that have been holding big protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term.

Residents reported heavy police presence in the neighbourhood, and hearing loud grenade explosions overnight Saturday as police mounted a door to door operation and heavy patrols on the streets.

“we saw them (the police) approaching our house, they knocked on our door, after we received to open they kicked the door and forced their way inside, we escaped through the window at the back of the house,” Jaqueline Uwimana told this website.

Residents in areas vehemently against the third term have been using all kinds of rudimentary weapons to protect themselves against the police.

Efforts to get the police side of the story were fruitless by press time.

Sunday’s deaths bring this week’s toll to 9.

Meanwhile, tension in Bujumbura is high as residents and security forces brace for more violence before, during or after Monday’s communal and legislative elections.

Friday night, voting material was set ablaze in Ntega area as voting material belonging to the country’s elections body (CENI) was destroyed.

Regional leaders, International community, opposition and civil society organisations and the UN facilitating team in Burundi have pleaded with the government to postpone all elections further in vain.

Opposition have already announced they will not participate in Monday’s “rigged” elections.