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Burundi Forces Kill Suspected Government Critics, Says Group

epa04773798 Burundian police officers patrol the area after dispersing protesters with gunshots and teargas during an anti-government demonstration against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term in Cibitoke neighborhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, 29 May 2015. Three cars parked outside a bank in downtown Bujumbura exploded on 29 May, injuring at least one person, according to an eye witness. The cause of explosion is unclear. Protesters against President continued their daily demonstrations as police officers fired shots in an attempt to disperse them. Burundi's Catholic church said on 28 May that it will not support upcoming elections and asked priests serving for electoral commissions to step down, according to media reports. Burundi is scheduled to hold parliamentary and Presidential elections on 05 June and 26 June respectively amid waves of deadly street protests against President's bid for a third term. EPA/DAI KUROKAWA

Human Rights Watch says Burundi’s government forces and ruling party members have beaten and killed perceived opponents of an upcoming referendum that could enable the president to extend his rule.

The rights group reported Tuesday that it confirmed 19 cases of violence carried out to press Burundians to vote yes on the referendum, which is scheduled for May 17. It said the victims included a man who was beaten to death and another whose beating may have resulted in his death.

It said the abuse reflects the widespread impunity for authorities and their allies.

Burundi’s government didn’t immediately respond to the allegations.

Burundi has been unstable since April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a disputed third term.

Hundreds of people have been killed since then.




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