Burundi president unexpectedly sworn in

AP News
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Posted: Aug 20, 2015 11:26 AM
Burundi president unexpectedly sworn in

BUJUMBURA, Burundi (AP) — With little fanfare or a public announcement beforehand, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza was sworn in for a third term on Thursday in this central African country which has been plagued by political violence.

Nkurunziza was sworn in at Parliament in front of banners bearing the green, white and red colors of the national flag as lawmakers and others looked on. Soldiers in dress uniforms and in camouflage stood nearby. bunting

The event did not elicit celebrations on the streets of Bujumbura, the capital. Nkurunziza won elections last month which the U.S. and U.K. said lacked credibility because of intimidation of the opposition and a clampdown on independent media

Burundi has been in turmoil since the April announcement of Nkurunziza's candidacy that many said violated the Constitution and a peace accord. Protests boiled over in May when soldiers launched a coup. It was quickly put down by the president's loyalists.

The violence has left more than 100 people dead and created tens of thousands of refugees.

In recent weeks, opposition and government officials and supporters have been targeted in sporadic attacks.

Earlier this month, a former head of the intelligence services and a key ally of the president, Lt. Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana, was killed by unknown assailants who shot rocket-propelled grenades at his car in Bujumbura. The next day, there was an assassination attempt on Pierre Claver Mbonimpa, a prominent rights activist and government critic.

On Saturday, a former army chief of staff during Burundi's civil war, Col. Jean Bikomagu, was shot and killed outside his home in Bujumbura.

The U.N., African Union and the U.S. have warned that the situation in Burundi could deteriorate further.

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Corrects that Lt. Gen. Adolphe Nshimirimana was killed by gunmen who shot rocket-propelled grenades at his car.