Burundi court gives Nkurunziza the nod to contest

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Unrest in Burundi after Nkurunziza was nominated by the party to vie for presidency in the forthcoming election

 

Burundi’s constitutional court has approved President Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term.

This comes after the court’s Vice President fled the country citing death threats.

Sylvere Nimpagaritse’s dramatic departure came after police shot dead at least three protesters in the country, where days of violence have left around 13 people dead.

Police have issued a stern warning to protesters.

They say if they are provoked they will respond with force. This comes after 15 officers were injured in a hand grenade attack.

The unrest has plunged Burundi into the worst political crisis since the country’s bloody civil war. There are fears the violence will escalate.

Nkurunziza has been in power since 2005.

He came under intense international pressure to withdraw from the 26 June presidential poll, in the country where a 13-year civil war between Tutsis and Hutus ended only in 2006.

The United Nations determined the wave of ethnically motivated killings were acts of genocide.

According to the 2000 Arusha peace agreement, which paved the way to democracy and ended the civil war that has killed an estimated 300,000 people since 1993, Burundi’s president can only run for two terms.

Nkurunziza’s supporters, however, argue that the president’s first term should not be counted, as he was chosen by the parliament,  not directly by the people as the constitution specifies.

On Monday the US secretary of state, John Kerry, warned that he was “deeply concerned” about Nkurunziza’s decision to stand again, which he said “flies directly in the face of the constitution”.

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