Violence Mars Burundi Election

Violence Mars Burundi ElectionViolence Mars Burundi Election

Burundi voted in its disputed presidential election on Tuesday with low turnouts in the capital following a night of explosions and gunfire in opposition strongholds where residents oppose President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term.

The gunshots and explosions kept away voters, though most polling stations opened at around 6 a.m. local time, said Honore Niyomukiza, who is in charge of voting centers in Kamenge District, AP reported.

With some of the opposition boycotting the election and others saying they were not allowed to campaign, Nkurunziza, 51, is not facing a strong challenge in his bid for a third term.

Unlike the capital city, a high turnout was reported in Nkurunziza’s hometown of Ngozi in northern Burundi where the president voted at Buye Fondamental School polling center.

Many fear that the presidential polls may provoke widespread violence. Since independence from Belgium in 1961, Burundi has had four coups and a civil war that left hundreds of thousands dead.

After the ruling party announced Nkurunziza’s candidacy in April, more than 100 people have died, many in street protests against the president’s efforts to win a third term.

The unrest triggered an attempted military coup in mid-May that was quickly put down by pro-Nkurunziza forces.