Nkurunziza postpones elections amid protests


Security forces containing riots in Bujumbura


Burundi’s President, Pierre Nkurunziza, has signed a decree delaying parliamentary and local council elections by one week to June 2, 2015.

Willy Nyamitwe, the presidential press adviser, said this was because of the political crisis currently ensuing in the country.

Nyamitwe told Reuters that Nkurunziza had made the decision after a recommendation by the election commission and following requests from opposition politicians and the international community for a postponement.

African Union, ICGLR Summit, international community and EAC Summit all urged the President to postpone elections until the situation has normalised.

Protests continue

On Tuesday, police fired teargas to disperse protesters demonstrating against Nkurunziza’s third term bid.

Rioters responded by hurling stones and rocks at police officers whom they accuse of firing live ammunition at them.

Three people were reportedly killed in Chibitoke province by Nkurunziza’s private militia, the imbonerakure youth.

So far 20 people have been killed and more than 100,000 exiled to Tanzania and Rwanda.

Protesters accuse Nkurunziza of violating the constitution and a peace deal that ended a civil war in 2005.

The rioters have promised not to stop until Nkurunziza gives up his third term bid.

EU embassy attacked

Last evening gun shots were heard at the offices of the European Union’s representative in Bujumbura.

After the attack at their embassy, EU pushed government to bolster security for their staff.

The European Union’s delegation to Burundi has published a letter that “expresses (its) deep concerns, following a gunfire attack on the Ambassador’s office, which has just taken place”.

In this letter, dated 19 May, the EU’s delegation to Burundi “reminds the Burundian government of its international obligations by applying the Vienna Convention” and “calls for an immediate increase in the level of protection of its offices”.

Meanwhile, the French Embassy has confirmed the arrival of an enforcement mission, destined to protect its offices “considering the situation”.

A military cargo aircraft, which was spotted at the airport, carried the 15 gendarmes – armed officers – and their equipment to the French embassy, French sources told IBTimes.

15 gendarmes are already deployed to bolster security at its diplomatic outpost in Bujumbura.

Businesses closed down in Bujumbura

The army has reportedly ordered every store and businesses in downtown Bujumbura to close down.

Witnesses confirmed the closure of City Hall, INSS, Mairie, BRB) where everyone was seen evacuating and going home.

Crackdown on foreign reporters

After burning down private owned radio and TV stations, Burundi has now turned attention to foreign media.

An incident was reported yesterday where soldiers who were firing live ammunition at protesters fled at the sight of foreign journalists with cameras.

Sonia Rolley of RFI described on Tuesday how foreign journalists, who had been spared from a crackdown on media presence, were now blocked from accessing certain districts where protests were being held.

Security is now extorting money from them like in Musaga where they paid $300 to officers.

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