At least 77 people have been killed in Burundi after protests erupted in light of president Pierre Nkurunziza’s controversial bid for a third term in office.
The Association for the Protection of Human Rights and Detained Persons (APRODEH), a human rights group in Burundi, through its head Pierre-Claver Mbonimpa, indicated on Friday that at least 77 civilians had died since the violence erupted in the East African state, Voice of America reported. Mbonimpa also indicated that at least 500 people had been seriously wounded in the crisis — of whom, 50 are still in hospital.
Another 1,000 people have reportedly been arrested in the crackdown on protesters, with dozens allegedly tortured under inhumane conditions.
Over 100,000 Burundi nationals may have fled Burundi into neighboring countries out of fear of victimization.
According to Mbonimpa, APRODEH has members spread across the tiny state which are receiving real-time intelligence covering a vast area.
The New York Times reported that in Bujumbura alone, the country’s capital, 24 civilians have been killed and another 590 injured, according to the Burundi Red Cross.
The Burundi national police have vehemently denied allegations contained within the APRODEH’s reports.
Nkurukiye offered no confirmation on the number of Burundi nationals held under police custody.
Protests in the nation began back in April when president Nkurunziza declared that he would be vying for a third term in office against a constitutional limit of two terms. The ruling party went on to approve their leader’s bid for a third term while the judges of Burundi’s Supreme Court controversially declared the sought term to be unconstitutional just moments before fleeing the country.
The nation has been in turmoil ever since, with both the ruling party and the opposition accusing one another of acting against the interests of the nation.