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Grenade Attack Kills at Least 2 in Bujumbura

  • VOA News

Attackers in Burundi's capital have thrown grenades into a crowded marketplace, killing at least two people, in the latest violence sparked by the president's bid for another term in office.

Police say at least a dozen others were injured when the grenades went off Friday in a busy market in Bujumbura. It is not clear who is behind the attacks.

Meanwhile, anti-government protests continued in the capital on Friday. Police fired tear gas at protesters who threw stones and burned tires.

Police and protesters have fought running battles during a month of demonstrations against President Pierre Nkurunziza and his plan to run for a third term. The president's decision triggered a failed coup and sent more than 100,000 people fleeing the country.

In another development Friday, the U.N. refugee agency said an outbreak of cholera has killed 29 Burundian refugees who fled to Tanzania to escape political unrest at home. It said that two Tanzanians have also died in an outbreak that has affected 3,000 people in the Kagunga area, near Lake Tanganyika.

Officials have brought in clean water, medicine and other supplies to halt the outbreak.

The U.S. State Department said Friday that the United States has not scaled back its military funding for Burundi. Spokeswoman Marie Harf said members of Burundi's military "have largely acted professionally and neutrally during the recent protests."

She added, however, that continued violence in Burundi could jeopardize the country's ability to contribute to U.N. peacekeeping missions, and said some U.S. training for U.N. missions has been temporarily halted because of the insecurity.

More than 20 people have died in Burundi since the protests began in late April. The government crushed a coup attempt last week while Nkurunziza was out of the country.

Critics of Nkurunziza say a third term would violate the two-term limit in Burundi's constitution. His supporters argue a third term is permitted because he was elected by parliament, not voters, for his first term in 2005.

The government postponed local and parliamentary elections by 10 days to June 5 but has made no move to delay the presidential poll, scheduled for June 26.

Some material for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

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