Burundi’s Nkurunziza sworn in during surprise ceremony
Bujumbura (dpa) - Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza was on Thursday sworn in for a third term in a surprise ceremony following weeks of unrest related to his controversial election victory.
The ceremony was only announced in the morning, apparently in an attempt to avoid protests, analysts said. Nkurunziza took his oath in the presence of parliamentarians and diplomats mainly from African countries, as well as some from China and Russia.
The president warned people staging acts of violence that they will be "neutralised, because they will be fighting against God."
Nkurunziza won the July 21 elections with nearly 70% of the vote in a poll boycotted by the opposition.
Explosions and killings
His bid for a third five-year term had sparked months of violent protests in which about 80 people were killed. Critics said his candidacy violated the constitution and the 2000 Arusha agreement, which led to the end of a 12-year civil war in 2005.
Nkurunziza's victory has been followed by explosions and killings in the capital, Bujumbura. Fatalities have included people who opposed his third term as well as a former army chief and a former intelligence chief. A prominent human rights activist was injured and flown to Belgium for treatment.
A soldier and two civilians were killed in Bujumbura on Wednesday, said witnesses who saw the bodies. A total of about 20 people have been reported killed in post-election violence.
Nkurunziza thwarted a coup in May, but the coup plotters have threatened with a new attempt.
The ongoing violence has fuelled fears of a repetition of the 1993-2005 civil war, which pitted the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups and left 300 000 people dead.