Two protesters in Burundi were shot dead Thursday, said the Red Cross, as pitched battles in the capital escalated between police and demonstrators opposed to President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid for a third term. Meanwhile, the United Nations said dialogue among the government, opposition parties and religious organizations resumed Thursday, facilitated by the U.N. envoy to Burundi, Said Djinnit. A protester from the capital’s Ngagara neighborhood was shot dead and another was killed in the Musaga district, Red Cross spokesman Alexis Manirakiza said. Thirteen people were wounded in clashes, he said. Protesters have disregarded several orders by Nkurunziza banning the demonstrations.
Thursday’s deaths raise the number of people killed to at least 20, said the Red Cross. The protests began nearly four weeks ago after the announcement of Nkurunziza’s candidacy. At least 431 have been wounded.
Police fired tear gas and live bullets, mostly in the air, at protesters in Musaga Thursday. The protesters threw back a hail of stones.
Residents stayed up all night on the roads fearing that police would attack them in their houses, said Pierre Chanel Ndayizeye, who was among the protesters. They tried to prevent police from moving into Musaga with barricades of cut-down telephone poles and trees, he said.