Burundi: 1 killed as Burundi political protests continue
Demonstrators duck and run from soldiers firing into the air to disperse a crowd of demonstrators - AP

BUJUMBURA: Protesters in a neighborhood were chasing down people suspected to be members of a pro-government militia on Thursday as the upheaval against the president took another violent turn.

One man fled under a hail of stones and took shelter in a covered sewer until army troops arrived and dispersed the mob by firing into the air.

In another neighborhood, a protester was killed Thursday in clashes with police and the widely feared Imbonerakure militia that backs the president.

The protests are over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term in office. His critics want him to drop his re-election bid, saying he has finished the two term limit allowed by law. But the Constitutional Court ruled that he can seek a third term and his backers say he can seek re-election because for his first term, he was selected by Parliament and not by regular votes.

Burundi’s constitution says the president should be elected by universal direct suffrage for a mandate of five years, renewable one time.

Thursday’s death brings the number of deaths in the protests to at least 10. More than 30,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries, fearing political violence.

Nkurunziza said the protests should stop immediately so the country can prepare for the June 26 elections in a peaceful atmosphere.

Opposition politician, Audifax Ndabitoreye, who was arrested after a meeting between East African Community foreign ministers seeking to end the crisis and Burundi leaders at a hotel in the capital, was released late Wednesday.

Protests have rocked Burundi’s capital since the ruling party announced on April 25 that it had nominated Nkurunziza as its presidential candidate.

Nkurunziza was first installed as president in 2005 by Parliament to lead a transitional government. He won the 2010 presidential election as the sole candidate.

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