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Burundi VP urges president to withdraw 3rd term bid

Iran Press TV

Thu Jun 25, 2015 3:1PM

Burundi's second vice president has fled the African country after calling on President Pierre Nkurunziza to withdraw his controversial bid to run for a third term in power in the upcoming presidential vote.

"Put the interests of the Burundian people before your personal interests and withdraw your presidential bid, because it violates the constitution," Gervais Rufyikiri wrote in a letter addressed to Nkurunziza before seeking refuge in Belgium, France 24 cited him as saying in an interview.

This is while a source in the presidential office in the Burundian capital Bujumbura confirmed the authenticity of the letter as well as Rufyikiri's current stay in Belgium.

"I left... because I was not able to continue to support the attitude of the president, his desire to lead the people of Burundi on the path of illegality," Rufyikiri added.

The development came as nearly 200 students reportedly broke into the US embassy in Bujumbura on Thursday to seek refuge there after police forces threatened to break up their protest camp outside the diplomatic compound.

According to press reports, protesting students slid under the gate and climbed over the wall into the embassy and began a peaceful sit-in with their hands raised in the air after police forces warned them to abandon the protest camp that they had set up outside the embassy compound since violent protests rallies began across Burundi in late April.

At least 70 people have been killed and nearly 100,000 have fled the country since violence erupted in Burundi over Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third consecutive term in the presidential election slated for July 15.

The president's bid is regarded by his opponents as unconstitutional and in violation of a peace accord that paved the way for an end to 13 years of civil war in the country back in 2006.

Parliamentary elections in the Burundi are also scheduled to be held next Monday.

MFB/MKA/HMV



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