DAR ES SALAAM. – Protest organisers in Burundi urged African leaders meeting in Tanzania yesterday to demand that their president halts his bid for a third term, which has triggered the nation’s worst crisis since an ethnically-fuelled civil war ended in 2005.
At least two gunshots rang out as protesters returned to the streets of Burundi’s capital yesterday. They say Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for another five years violates two-term limits in the constitution and the peace deal that ended the civil war.
More than 20 people have been killed since unrest erupted more than two weeks ago, according to an unofficial count by activists.
East African leaders and a top official from South Africa met in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam to discuss the crisis that has already spilled over into a region with a history of ethnic con flict.
More than 50 000 people have fled to neighbouring states. The UN refugee agency UNHCR said the crisis was heading towards a “worst case scenario” that could see 300 000 people fleeing, some to other parts of Burundi and others abroad. That would mean the displacement of about 3 percent of the 10 million-strong population in one of Africa’s most crowded nations.
“We expect the east African heads of state to tell President Nkurunziza that the constitution of Burundi and the Arusha peace agreement do not allow him to run for a third term,” said Pacifique Nininahazwe, a civil society activist and protest leader. – Reuters.