Soldier killed as more violent protests hit Burundi

A Burundi soldier was shot dead by an intelligence officer while at least nine protesters were hurt in renewed clashes in the capital over a bid by the president to stand for a third term.

The soldier died and a civilian was hurt when the intelligence officer opened fire near a barricade erected by protesters in Bujumbura, said a senior police officer speaking on condition of anonymity.

The officer was “at a spot where the demonstrators had built a barricade. He felt threatened. He shot and hit a soldier who was killed”, said the source, describing the shooting as “an unfortunate incident”.

The unrest broke out after the ruling CNDD-FDD party designated President Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate in the next presidential election, which is due to be held in the small central African nation on June 26.

Opposition figures and rights groups say that Nkurunziza’s attempt to stand for a third consecutive term goes against the constitution as well as a peace deal that ended a civil war in 2006.

The situation is “very dangerous”, senior US diplomat Tom Malinowski said Thursday, warning that Washington could impose targeted sanctions if Nkurunziza refuses dialogue.

The United States was “clear” in its opposition to the president running again, added Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.

The Red Cross reported that nine protesters had been hurt in the Bujumbura clashes, and confirmed before the soldier’s death that the overall toll from days of violent protest stands at six dead.

Source: The Punch