On day 7, Burundi protests against Nkurunziza’s 3rd term bid turn deadly

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Ntahangwa bridge in Bujumbura being blocked by protestors

 

Three people have been killed and around 62 (including 17 policemen) injured according to preliminary figures provided by the Red Cross-Burundi, during the 7th day of protests in Bujumbura against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s 3rd term bid..
Police used live bullets, grenades and tear gas in an attempt to quell furious and rowdy protestorrs who had blocked several streets in different neighborhoods of the capital all day Monday.

A few demonstrators managed to sneak into downtown Bujumbura before being forced out by heavily armed police, thereafter the city became paralyzed as all businesses, schools, corporate offices remained closed throughout the day. And the city was completely empty no traffic was visible.

For more 30 minutes, a group of protestors dared the armed-to-the teeth police as they blocked one the major streets in Bujumbura, Boulevard du 28 Novembre, only to be dislodged by grenades, tear gas and live gun fire.

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Audifax Ndabitoroye in action

 

Audifax Ndabitoreye, one of the masterminds of the protests, urged the police against use of excessive force against protesters.

“It’s too bad to have a police force which kills innocent people. Shooting at civilians is a crime. I would like to urge the government of the Netherlands to end all kind of assistance provided to this police because it’s no longer the national police, rather it’s just a militia of Pierre Nkurunziza and the CNDD-FDD”, Mr Ndabitoreye said while demonstrating alongside other protestors.

Ndabitoreye, also the Chairman of a political coalition; Imbono Charisma has already announced his intentions to contest next month’s presidential election.

His wife was briefly detained by the police today, she escaped and disappeared into the crowds.

Calls for Nkurunziza not to run for the 3rd term are day by day. Haruna Nkunduwiga, the Chairman of the Burundi Islamic Community has called all Burundian Muslims to join other citizens to force President Nkurunziza to withdraw his candidacy.
“Burundian Community is outraged by our president’s will of running for a 3rd term, against the will of the people, the national constitution and the Arusha Peace Agreement. We urge him not to turn a deaf ear to several calls and withdraw his candidacy”, Haruna said, calling all Muslims to join in with the anti-3rd term movement this Tuesday.

He also asked the police to stop sullying their name by targeting peaceful demonstrators and to dissociate with the malevolent Imbonerakure , militant youth wing supporting the president’s controversial move. These young have shot at protestors.
Protests also are starting to spread outside Bujumbura to the countryside, as more and more Burudians are matching against the president’s decision.

Since the breakout of the protest, around nine people have been killed, whereas more than a hundred have sustained injuries. About 600 others are said to be detained in several jails around Bujumbura and the countryside.

According to Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, the Chairman of the Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons, APRODH, protestors are subjected to harassment and torture behind bars. Mbonimpa has called upon international human rights watchdogs to intervene.