2 dead in grenade explosion in Burundi market

AP News
Posted: May 22, 2015 9:05 PM

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — Grenades thrown into a market in the capital Bujumbura killed two people on Friday, Burundi's state broadcaster said.

An Associated Press reporter saw one person dead and at least 10 wounded following the explosions. Christine Kaneza, a fruit seller at the market who was wounded, said she heard two explosions.

Burundi has been experiencing weeks of unrest since the ruling party's announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza would seek a third term in office.

Earlier this month, Nkurunziza's security forces crushed a military coup that tried to topple him. Three army generals accused of trying to topple Nkurunziza were arrested when they were found hiding in a house, while another senior security official was caught at the border while trying to flee to Tanzania.

U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, chairman of the Africa Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called for the Obama administration to name a special envoy to the region, a position that has gone unfilled for three months.

"That this important position for such a volatile region remains unfilled three months after Ambassador Russell Feingold announced that he was stepping down signals a disengagement when lives are at stake. I find that very worrisome," he said in a statement.

At least 20 people have died and 431 people have been wounded in street protests against the president's candidacy in the June 26 election, which opponents say is illegal. Protesters say Nkurunziza's bid for a third term is illegal because the constitution only allows for two five-year terms. Nkurunziza maintains he can run for a third term because parliament — not the people — elected him for his first term.

At least 60 people died in grenade attacks after a 2010 election which Nkurunziza won after the opposition boycotted.