Stringer / AP Photo

Burundi's capital hit with deadly violence

The country descended into violence in April after President Nkurunziza launched a bid for a third consecutive term

At least four people died in shootings and explosions in various neighborhoods in Burundi's capital on Sunday, with the government-supporting mayor's house among those attacked during a night of violence, witnesses and local administration said.

Burundi has been shaken by months of violence, sparked when President Pierre Nkurunziza decided in April to run for a third term. He won a disputed election in July.

Last week, the United Nations Security Council asked Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to report within 15 days on options for boosting the U.N. presence in Burundi amid growing concern that the violence could spiral into an ethnic conflict.

Memories are still raw in the region of the 1994 genocide in neighboring Rwanda.

Attackers on Sunday targeted a police post in the southern part of the capital city of Bujumbura, killing one police officer and injuring another, said a police officer who witnessed the incident and did not wish to be named.

The shootings started at around 9 p.m. local time in areas of the city such as the Mutakura district, where three people were wounded. The gunfire intensified at midnight and was heard across Bujumbura for several hours, said another police officer who did not wish to be named.

Dieudonné Nduwayo, administrative secretary of Bujumbura's Bwiza zone, said three other people had been killed in different places within the city's Mukaza district.

Bujumbura Mayor Freddy Mbonimpa, a member of Nkurunziza's CNDD-FDD party said his home and vehicles parked there were seriously damaged when about 10 people attacked the house in Rohero, a part of the city that has seen little violence.

"Around 10 assailants ... shot and threw grenades at my house. We fortunately registered no death because my guard responded," Mbonimpa told Reuters.

Scores have died in protests and killings and hundreds of thousands have fled Burundi since Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term, a move the opposition said violated the constitution and a peace treaty that ended fighting in 2005.

Since the opposition took to the streets to protest the incumbent's refusal to give up power in April, at least 240 people have been killed and more than 200,000 have fled the country. 

Burundi is still scarred by memories of its 1993-2006 civil war pitting rebels from the Hutu majority against an army dominated by minority Tutsis.

International alarm has been mounting after repeated appeals to Nkurunziza to enter into a dialogue with the opposition went unanswered and the political rhetoric grew increasingly poisonous — drawing comparisons with the hate speech that whipped up the violence in Rwanda in 1994.

Wire services

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