Africa

Burundi President Nkurunziza plays football amid protests

Burundi leader playing football Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Burundi's president played a game of football while people protested against him

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza has been photographed playing football as protests continue over his bid to run for a third term in office.

Mr Nkurunziza was playing in his daily kickabout with friends in the capital, Bujumbura.

In the latest unrest, a protester was shot dead in Bujumbura.

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

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption President Nkurunziza is a qualified football coach
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption His official biography says he "plays as a striker and scores regularly"
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The president has his own football team called Hallelujah FC
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption He combines matches against local team with evangelical prayer sessions
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption He never travels without his own football team and a choir

The protester was shot in the back by police in the opposition stronghold of Musaga, a witness said.

On Wednesday Mr Nkurunziza said in a speech on state radio that an insignificant part of the capital was experiencing unrest while the rest of Burundi was peaceful.

He urged those who have fled the country to return.

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


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Mr Nkurunziza also announced a 10-day delay for parliamentary elections, which were due to be held next Tuesday.

He made the decision after a recommendation from the electoral commission, a spokesman said. The African Union and the EU had called for a postponement saying there should be dialogue to ease the tension.

The presidential election is due in June.

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.

Burundi's Constitutional Court says that Mr Nkurunziza's first term does not count because he was elected by parliament and not voters.

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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