Africa

Burundi soldier shot dead by police during protests

A policeman shouts as he holds his rifle during a clashes with demonstrators during a protest against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza and his bid for a third term in Bujumbura Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Burundi police have clashed with protesters as demonstrations continue

A soldier in Burundi has been shot dead by a policeman during a demonstration in the capital, Bujumbura.

A witness told the BBC the soldier was hit by accident after police starting shooting at demonstrators.

Protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's third-term bid have continued despite a ban.

There have been weeks of tension in Burundi after Mr Nkurunziza said he would be a candidate in June's election.

The shooting happened in the Nyakabiga district of Bujumbura. Police eventually withdrew from parts of the neighbourhood leaving the army to restore order, the BBC's Andrew Harding reports from the city.

There has not been an easy relationship between the army and the police, with the police resenting the army's tolerant attitude towards the protests, our correspondent says.

Last week, there was a failed coup against Mr Nkurunziza - senior officials from both the army and police have been arrested and accused of involvement.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Pierre Nkurunziza is seeking a third term which opponents say is unconstitutional

Earlier, Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza postponed parliamentary elections due on 26 May for 10 days.

He made the decision after a recommendation from the electoral commission, a spokesman said.

Mr Nkrunziza has been under pressure to delay June's presidential election, but there has been no mention of that.

The African Union and the EU have called for a postponement of the presidential vote and said there should be dialogue to ease the tension.

Mr Nkurunziza has so far rejected that demand, saying the election will go ahead as planned.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protests against the third-term bid have been taking place since April

Mr Nkurunziza's critics say the third term contravenes the constitution, which requires him to step down after two terms.

They reject a ruling of Burundi's Constitutional Court that Mr Nkurunziza's first term does not count because he was elected by parliament and not voters.

The UN refugee agency says that more than 105,000 people have fled Burundi into neighbouring countries since the conflict started.

Mr Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader, has been president since 2005.

Burundi: Key facts

The country is facing its worst turmoil since the 12-year civil war ended in 2005

  • 10.4m population

  • 50 years - life expectancy for a man

  • 2nd poorest country in the world

  • 85% are Hutu, 14% Tutsi

  • 300,000 died in civil war

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