October 28, 2015 / 6:49 PM / in 2 years

Burundi violence leaves more than a dozen dead, U.N. worried

NAIROBI (Reuters) - More than a dozen people were killed in clashes in Burundi on Monday and Tuesday, police said, in the latest violence linked to the disputed third term of President Pierre Nkurunziza that has sparked concern by the United Nations Security Council.

Nkurunziza triggered weeks of protests and a failed coup when he announced in April he would seek a third term, plunging Burundi into its worst crisis since a civil war ended in 2005.

He won the disputed vote in July but tensions have remained high, and at least 198 people have been killed since April.

The U.N. Security Council on Wednesday expressed “deep concern about the growing insecurity and the continued rise in violence.” In a French-drafted statement, it strongly condemned human rights abuses and unlawful violence by security forces and militias and pledged to seek accountability for such acts.

Activists and officials have reported a number of apparently targeted killings, while residents in opposition strongholds in the capital Bujumbura report frequent shootings and blasts.

Late on Tuesday, police in the central province of Gitega clashed with a group of about 24 people, several of whom were armed, and killed seven people, Gitega governor Venant Manirambona said.

There have been frequent clashes between security forces and citizens since April.

In a separate incident, a couple in a car in Bujumbura were killed by two gunmen on a motorbike.

“I heard terrible gunshots,” a resident who witnessed the killing said. “The man was hit by bullets trying to escape as his wife was hit being in their car.”

It was not immediately clear what was behind the killings, though the incident was similar to other recent attacks tied to the country’s political crisis.

Deputy police spokesman Pierre Nkurikiye confirmed the two deaths, and said another four people died in the capital on Monday.

Additional reporting by Patrick Nduwimana in Kigali and Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Edith Honan, Alison Williams and Marguerita Choy

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