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Grenade attacks claim lives in anti-government protests in Burundi

Three people were killed in the Burundian capital Bujumbura as police continued to clash with protesters. Hundreds have been detained since demonstrations started last Sunday.

Two police officers and one civilian died in Bujumbara on Friday, as clashes continued for a sixth day in Burundi. More than 10 people were wounded in grenade attacks in two districts in the capital of the East African country.

Protesters are opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term, which they say is unconstitutional. The ruling CNDD-FDD had announced his candidacy last week.

Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader and born-again Christian from the Hutu majority, came to power in 2005. His supporters say he is eligible to run again, since his first term in office followed his election by parliament, not directly by the people as the constitution specifies.

Nkurunziza on Friday warned of "severe sanctions" against those protesting over his decision. Social media has been blocked and radio stations have been shut down.

Meanwhile on Saturday, protest organizers have called for demonstrations to be halted for two days. "We decided to stop demonstrations for two days, first to allow those who lost their family members in the protests to observe mourning and, second, we want the protesters to regain energy before resuming the fight Monday," said Pacifique Nininahazwe, head of Focode, one of the 300 civil society groups that have called for the demonstrations.

ng/rc (Reuters, AFP)

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