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Burundi students seek refuge at U.S. embassy

Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 01:36

A hundred Burundian students are seeking refuge at a U.S. Embassy and one vice president has fled the country, after denouncing President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term in office, an allegation denied by the government. Rudi Bakhtiar reports.

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STORY: They broke into the U.S. embassy compound to seek refuge, as police dismantled their protest camp outside. The students, more than 500 of them, have been protesting since the government closed their university, in what has fast become Burundi's worst crisis since an ethnically charged civil war ended in 2005. At the center of the crisis, a decision by President Pierre Nkurunziza to seek a third term in office. His Vice President, Gervais Rufyikiri, has joined the protest, but says he been forced to flee to Belgium after being threatened for denouncing Nkurunziza. "As everyone knows very well since he launched his candidacy to run for his third presidential mandate, which is forbidden by the constitution, a crisis was caused by some demonstrations. The crisis is becoming violent with consequences that have been anticipated by those close to him," Rufyikiri said. Nkurunziza's bid for a third term has sparked weeks of violent demonstrations and clashes with police. More than 70 people have are believed to have died in the violence. The United Nations, and African and Western nations, have called for dialogue to ease the crisis. But with the presidential vote rescheduled for July 15th, the window for reconciliation is closing fast.

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Burundi students seek refuge at U.S. embassy

Thursday, June 25, 2015 - 01:36