Dozens die in fresh Burundi demonstrations

  • 05/10/2015

At least a dozen civilians have been killed in weekend clashes between police and anti-government protesters in the Burundi capital Bujumbura.

The deadly clashes are the latest in months of unrest triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza's successful bid to win a third term in office, a move opponents said was against the law and the terms of a peace deal that ended a 13-year civil war in 2006.

The clashes started at noon on Saturday, said deputy police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye.

"Two of the assailants were killed and two policemen injured," Nkurikiye said.

But witnesses told AFP that Saturday's clashes were more widespread, and more deadly.

In Cibitoke, a protest hot spot that borders Mutakura, six corpses were found on the streets with bullet wounds early on Sunday, according to three witnesses and a local official.

A witness in Mutakura said four more bodies were found on Sunday morning while others said the number was five.

Some of the dead had been shot in the head.

Sources said the trouble began late on Saturday morning when police arrested some young people in Mutakura. The arrests sparked clashes with residents, who attacked police with arms and explosives. The unrest then spread to nearby districts.

"It was a nightmare," Bujumbura resident Gerard said. "All day we heard explosions from grenades and the crackle of automatic weapons and machine guns.

"Many people spent the day and night holed up in their homes."