NAIROBI (Reuters) - Gunmen have killed three local administrators in various parts of Burundi since Friday, officials said, in the latest episode of violence since President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a third term in office that his opponents say was unconstitutional.
More than 400 people have been killed since April when Nkurunziza said he would run for a third term, triggering street protests and a coup attempt. Opposition parties say his election bid, which he went on to win, violated two-term constitutional limits.
Gad Niyukuri, governor of Makamba province, said in the latest incident unidentified gunmen killed the head of a village in Kibago district in the province on Tuesday night.
“The victim was attacked at his home around 10 p.m. by unidentified gunmen,” he told Reuters by phone.
In another incident on Tuesday, gunmen killed another village head in Mugamba district in Bururi province, 70 km from Bujumbura, a resident in the province said.
“Gunmen came around 7.00 PM last night fired several rounds of bullets at the victim’s home killing on spot the head of village only,” a resident who only identified himself as Antoine said.
“Another local elected official was also killed last Friday by unidentified gunmen.”
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks but the government says there are now three rebel outfits perpetrating violence, including two made up of renegade soldiers.
The opposition also accuses government troops of arbitrary arrests, disappearances and extra-judicial killings.
Statistics from U.N. refugee agency UNHCR show that as of early March, 250,473 people had fled Burundi and were registered as refugees in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
In February, Nkurunziza said Burundi would hold political talks to try to end the months of violence. The government has in the past said it will not hold talks with anyone who was involved in the failed coup attempt in May.
Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Toby Chopra