The leader of Burundi has sworn to launch an investigation into the mass protests against his intention to seek a third term as president. Pierre Nkurunziza has said instigators will face "severe sanctions."
Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza issued a stern warning to protesters against his administration on Friday, warning of "severe sanctions" for those involved as the demonstrations rolled into their sixth day despite mass arrests.
"A judiciary commission has been set up to investigate that insurrectional movement. Within one month, the commission will issue its report. Severe sanctions will be taken against those who will be found guilty," Nkurunziza said in Labor Day message.
The protestors in the capital Bujumbura are upset that Nkurunziza is seeking a third term despite a constitutional two-term limit. His supporters argue that because in his first term he was appointment by lawmakers, and not voted in, it does not violate the constitution. The two-term limit is a legacy of a 2000 peace accord that ended a 12-year civil war.
In spite of the warning, thousands of demonstrators continued to make their anger known on Friday, demanding the president abandon his campaign. According to the Red Cross, seven people were killed and more than sixty injured in clashes between protesters and police on Thursday.
Students flee to US embassy
Hundreds of students, finding their university shuttered on Friday, sought refuge outside the US embassy in Bujumbura.
"We are here for security because we have been chased from the campuses," a student who wished to remain anonymous told Reuters news agency. Hundreds of others gathered together outside the wall of the embassy.
The students said the American ambassador, Dawn Liberi, had come to speak with them and assured them she had addressed their plight to the proper authorities, but did not promise them asylum.
Burundi will hold parliamentary elections on June 26. Last Saturday, President Nkurunziza was nominated once more as the candidate from the ruling CNDD-FDD party.
es/jil (dpa, Reuters)