BUJUMBURA, BURUNDI —
Three people have died in grenade attacks in Burundi, a spokesman for the ministry of public security said Saturday, during a week that has seen street protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's controversial decision to seek a third term.
Two police officers died in one attack on a police station in the capital's central market and a civilian died in another attack in the capital's Kamenge area, said Pierre Nkurikiye. Seventeen people were wounded in the grenade attacks which occurred Friday night, he said.
Police have arrested two suspects but the motive of the attacks is not known, said Nkurikiye. At least six people have been killed in clashes with the police this week, according to the Burundi Red Cross. A funeral for one of those killed in the protests was held Saturday.
Many see Nkurunziza's decision to run again as a violation of the Arusha Agreements that ended the civil war that killed more than 250,000 people. The fighting between Hutu rebels and a Tutsi-dominated army ended in 2003. The Central African nation's war began in October 1993, after Burundi's first democratically elected president was assassinated.
"The current institutions are trying to bury the Arusha accords. This attitude leads us directly to hell," said former President Domitien Ndayizeye who was in office from 2003 to 2005.
Burundi is one of the world's poorest countries and the poverty and the absence of freedom could lead to a revolt, he said.
Nkurunziza, a Hutu, was selected president by Parliament in 2005. He was re-elected unopposed in 2010. His supporters say he can seek re-election again because he was voted in by lawmakers for his first term, and was not popularly elected.
In the build up to the 2010 elections a coalition of non-governmental groups said at least eight people were killed and more than 50 people wounded in 60 grenade explosions.
U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Tom Malinowski, traveled to Burundi on Wednesday and told reporters that the government has been warned of "real consequences" if the crisis escalates.