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Burundi police kill 1 as unrest engulfs capital

The Burundian police have killed one person while responding to “coordinated” attacks against them as fresh unrest envelops the country’s capital. The fatality was caused in Bujumbura overnight on Saturday when the police returned a series of around 10 grenade attacks in parts of the city.

"These were coordinated attacks which targeted police positions and police patrols. Fortunately there was no damage," said a senior police official. The city has been the scene of weeks of demonstrations against the central African nation's President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is seeking to serve a third consecutive five-year tenure.

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza (C) arrives in a car for celebrations marking the country's 53rd independence anniversary at Prince Rwagasore Stadium in the capital, Bujumbura, on July 1, 2015 (AFP photo).


Over 70 people have been killed in more than two months of protests, with over 158,000 refugees fleeing to neighboring countries, according to the latest United Nations figures. As the country is heading into presidential polls, set to take place on July 15, the head of state’s opponents say it is unconstitutional for him to run for another term in office, alleging it would violate a peace deal that ended a dozen years of civil war in 2006. Fought largely along ethnic lines, the 1993-2005 civil war killed an estimated 300,000 people.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, also told the world body’s Security Council on Thursday that the country is on the brink of renewed violence over Nkurunziza's controversial presidential bid. The situation will slide into “devastating violence” again, if the pattern of politically-motivated violence continues in the nation, he said.

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