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Burundi president calls for 'ethnic harmony'

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Burundi president calls for 'ethnic harmony'


There have been more protests in Burundi’s capital against the president who intends to stand for a third term.

The postponement of May elections until June 5 has done nothing to calm the situation.

With fears that weeks of political unrest could trigger ethnic violence President Pierre Nkurunziza has called for unity.

“Many people have fled into Tanzania, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Others have taken planes and gone abroad. We are asking them to come back, because the whole country is peaceful and secure,” Nkurunziza said.

Burundi’s population is made up of mainly Tutsis and Hutus. In 1994, ethnic division boiled over and 800,000 people, most of them Tutsis were killed in a genocide.

So far there have been few signs of the current struggle being driven by anything other than a desire of urban Burundians to stop Nkurunziza seeking another term, which they say breaks the constitution and peace deal that ended a civil war in 2005.

Today, more than 100,000 Burundians have left the country in the wake of daily shootings and an abortive coup.

In a sign of the deepening humanitarian crisis, at least 33 people have died of cholera in a refugee camp in neighbouring Tanzania.

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