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2 killed in Burundi ahead of election

No fewer than two people were killed overnight in Bujumbura, relatives and friends said on Sunday, a day before parliamentary elections were due to hold amid an opposition boycott and fears of violence.

Saturday night, a police officer shot and killed a university student in Bujumbura’s Jabe neighbourhood.

He was killed when he was returning home from visiting his family, his brother said, giving his name only as Alexis for security reasons.

“A (who) policeman shot at him was close to him. Patrick was stabbed by a bayonet by the same policeman,” Alexis said, still visibly in shock from the killing.

A witness said loud explosions could be heard during the night in other parts of the city, accompanied by suspected gunfire.

Also in Jabe, another man was killed in a suspected grenade attack, his friend said.

“Someone called him yesterday night during the shootings. He went out and did not return. We ask the government to stop this,” said the victim’s friend, giving his name only as Ibrahim.

Police spokesman were not immediately available to comment.

Burundi has been in turmoil since April when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term, triggering weeks of angry protests and unrest.

His opponents say the move violates Burundi’s constitution as well as a peace deal that ended an ethnically charged civil war in 2005.

The opposition has said it would boycott Monday’s vote and presidential elections on July 15.

Dozens have been killed in the unrest and the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, says almost 127,000 people had fled to neighbouring states, many citing fears about election-related violence.


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