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Burundi Violence Claims More Than 80 Lives


A man looks across at spent bullet casings lying on a street in the Nyakabiga neighborhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Burundi's political violence continued Saturday as a number of people were found shot dead.

A man looks across at spent bullet casings lying on a street in the Nyakabiga neighborhood of Bujumbura, Burundi, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. Burundi's political violence continued Saturday as a number of people were found shot dead.


The U.S. has ordered Americans to leave violent Burundi as soon as possible.

More than 80 people were killed there Friday in the capital city of Bujumbura.

Horrified residents in the capital told reporters of finding dozens of corpses scattered in the streets on Saturday.

Three army facilities were raided, according to news sources. Eight security officers and the majority of the raiders were reportedly among the dead.

Kenya Airways cancelled all flights to Burundi from Friday through Sunday.

The United States condemned Friday’s violence. The U.S. Department of State warned American citizen against travel to Burundi. The State Department also requested all Americans in Burundi to leave as soon as possible.

“We condemn this violence in the strongest possible terms,” State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in a written statement. “We call on all sides to refrain immediately from violence.”

Violence surged this spring in the African country when president Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term of office. Those opposed to the president say he violated the country’s two-term limit law.

Critics also say the president is breaking an agreement that ended Burundi’s 12-year civil war.

In mid-May, separate parts of the military battled during a coup attempt. Then over the summer, Nkurunziza won the election and was sworn in for a third term.

Since the civil war ended in 2005, more than 240 people have been killed during civil unrest. More than 200,000 Burundians have become refugees and fled to Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania and Congo.

In September, a U.N. special investigator warned Burundi could slip back into open warfare without action from the international community.

About 10 million people live in Burundi.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA's News Division reported on this story. Jim Dresbach adapted the story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

What do you think of the violence in Burundi? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section or visit our Facebook page.

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Words in This Story

horrified - adj. frightened; shocked

resident(s) - n. people who living in a given community, city or town

dozens - adj. a large number of something; many

scattered - adj. thrown or placed in different directions

facilities - n. space or equipment necessary for doing something

surge – v. to suddenly increase to an unusually high level

coup – n. a sudden attempt by a small group of people to take over the government usually through violence

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