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Over 50,000 Flee Burundi Amid Pre-Election Violence – UN

People's Daily Online

18:03 08.05.2015(updated 19:11 08.05.2015)

Over the last weeks more than 50,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – More than 50,000 people have fled Burundi after violence broke out in the country following President Pierre Nkurunziza's April announcement that he would run for a third term in office in the June 26 election, a spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said Friday.

"Over the last weeks more than 50,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)," Adrian Edwards said at a press briefing.

About half of the refugees, 25,004, fled to Rwanda, while more than 17,000 have sought refuge in Tanzania. Some 8,000 have gone to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, according to the spokesman. Most of the asylum seekers are women, children and unaccompanied minors.

The UNHCR and Rwandan authorities are currently moving those who arrive in the country to a refugee camp capable of hosting up to 60,000 people, Edwards added.

Nkurunziza became president of Burundi in 2005 after a 12-year civil war and was elected for a second term in 2010. Controversially, he was the only candidate in that election due to withdrawals and allegations of fraud.

The president's supporters argue that, despite the country's constitution limiting presidents to two terms in office, this bid for a third term is lawful as Nkurunziza was appointed to the position in 2005 by parliament rather than going before the electorate.

A wave of protests in the country started in late April in the country's capital Bujumbura, spreading throughout its suburbs. At least 14 people died in the unrest.



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