(By Estera Popowska)
Following mass demonstrations against incumbent President Pierre Nkurunziza’s bid to seek a third term, Burundi has reportedly closed its national university. According to VOA, the university in Bujumbura shut its doors on Thursday and sent home the students living in residence halls on campus.
In a separate incident, authorities reportedly on Wednesday blocked access to social media networks via mobile and messaging applications. Daily Monitor reported that Twitter, Facebook and Whatsapp which have been used to coordinate protests, were no longer accessible via mobile telephone in the capital Bujumbura, although an official explanation for the service cut has not been given.
Demonstrations reportedly erupted after the ruling CNDD-FDD party, which has been accused of intimidating opponents, designated President Pierre Nkurunziza its candidate in the June 26 presidential election.
At least five people have died since unrest broke out at the weekend, opposition figures and rights groups say Nkurunziza's attempt stand for a third consecutive term goes against the constitution as well as the peace deal that ended a civil war in 2006.
The Burundian president, a former rebel leader and born-again Christian, has been in power since 2005. Opposition figures and rights groups say his attempt to stay put goes against the constitution as well as the peace deal that ended a civil war in 2006.
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the 13-year conflict, and there are fears the upsurge in political tensions could plunge the country back into violence.
At least 15,000 Burundians have fled the country to neighbouring Rwanda in recent weeks, according to the UN's refugee agency, which has warned that those numbers could rise. UN rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein warned recently the country was at a “crossroads” between a fair vote and a route back to its “horrendously violent past.” (VOA/Agencies)