A Burundi opposition figure and his bodyguard were shot dead in the capital by gunmen on Saturday, a civil society activist and residents said, adding to tensions after a month of protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. Reuters report:
Zedi Feruzi, the head of opposition party UPD, and his bodyguard were killed in the Ngagara district, Anshere Nikoyagize, the head of the civil society group Ligue ITEKA, told Reuters. Residents said he was killed near his home. Burundi is facing its deepest crisis since the end of an ethnically fueled civil war in 2005. The unrest was triggered by the president’s decision to seek another five years in office.
Opponents, such as Feruzi, have said it is unconstitutional. The president has shown no sign of backing down, pointing to a constitutional court ruling that said he can run again because his first term, when he was picked by parliament not elected in a popular vote, did not count.
The crisis has already prompted a failed coup and driven more than 110,000 people to flee to neighboring states for fear the violence will spread beyond the capital. It has unnerved a region that has a history of ethnic conflict. “We heard a lot of gunfire,” a neighbor of Feruzi told Reuters Television. “It’s unfortunate because there were army soldiers here, and they didn’t do anything.”