Protesters burned a man alive in Burundi”s capital yesterday, saying he was a member of the ruling party”s youth wing, which had attacked them during their demonstrations against the president”s bid for a third term, a witness said.

Protesters have been on Bujumbura”s streets for almost two weeks, often hurling stones at the police, whom they say have fired live rounds at them. The police deny this.

Opponents of the government say the June 26 presidential election should be delayed by a few weeks because of the unrest.

President Pierre Nkurunziza”s spokesman said a delay was unnecessary because most of the country was calm.

The violence has plunged the nation into its worst crisis since the end of a civil war in 2005 that pitted the ethnic Hutu majority against the powerful Tutsi minority.

“They put tyres around his neck and then burnt him,” a witness said in the Nyakabiga district of Bujumbura.

Local media also reported the incident and the Red Cross said a man was killed in Nyakabiga but, in line with its usual practice, did not say how he died. It said a woman was killed in another area yesterday.

Protesters said the victim of the burning was a member of the Imbonerakure youth wing of the ruling CNDD-FDD party, which they say has attacked them.

The government has repeatedly dismissed charges that Imbonerakure is fomenting violence.

Condemning the killing, presidential spokesman Gervais Abayeho said: “We don”t want the situation to degenerate and take us back to those years when people were killed on the streets in broad daylight.”

Activists say at least 14 people have been killed since the protests erupted.


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