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Burundi still restless a week before vote

Grenade attacks across the country have left four dead and at least 30 injured a week ahead of parliamentary elections. Police called the attacks a "terror campaign" organized by anti-Nkurunziza elements.

A grenade hurled into a bar in the northern town of Ngozi exploded late on Sunday night, killing four and leaving at least 27 injured, while another grenade attack in Kirundo injured two people.

In the capital of Bujumbura, another grenade exploded in the Musaga district, wounding a police officer.

"It is clear that all these grenade attacks are related to each other, this is a terror campaign organized by opponents of the third term of President Pierre Nkurunziza, to destabilize and try to prevent the elections," a senior police officer told the AFP news agency.

Three suspects in the Ngozi attack have been arrested, according to local police.

The attacks come a week ahead of parliamentary elections - already delayed once owing to recent unrest - and less than a month before key presidential elections, slated for July 15.

Elections' credibility at risk, EU mulls sanctions

Violence erupted in the central African country following President Pierre Nkurunziza's announcement that he would be seeking a controversial third term.

Nkurunziza has been criticized by opposition politicians and civil society leaders in the country for undermining a constitution that ended a prolonged civil war lasting more than a decade.

Opposition parties dropped out of negotiations with the government after Zedi Feruzi, leader of the Union for Peace and Development (UPD), was shot dead by unknown gunmen in May.

The EU also suspended its mission to Burundi in May, stating that the observer mission was no longer able to fulfill its role of helping with "peaceful, credible, and fair" elections.

EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg to discuss an array of issues on Monday, said in a statement that they were considering "targeted restrictive measures against those whose actions would have led or lead to violence and repression in serious violations of human rights," indicating the possiblity of sanctions or asset freezes for some individuals in Burundi.

ls/msh (AFP, Reuters)

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