This is the moment a Burundian policewoman was stoned by a rampaging mob who accused her of shooting at people taking part in a riot over the president’s controversial bid for third term in office.
Officers opened fire on demonstrators amid furious clashes on the streets of the capital Bujumbura, as Pierre Nkurunziza defied international pressure to cease his latest campaign for president.
Shortly after the shots were fired, the policewoman was punched, kicked and dragged along the streets of the capital Bujumbura by a furious mob who managed to separate her from her colleagues.
Harrowing images show the woman attempting to flee for her life while knife and stone-wielding men fight among themselves to reach her.
Eventually the female officer’s colleagues managed to get between her and her attackers, enabling her to flee to safety with only minor injuries.
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Sick: Protesters chase and thrown stones at a female police officer they accused of opening fire on protesters in Bujumbura this afternoon
Furious Burundian protesters violently carry a female police officer they accused of opening fire on them in the capital Bujumbura today
The female police officer is dragged along on the street and kicked in the head by a group of men who accused her of shooting at them
Two men appear to be protecting the police officer while several others – including one wearing Chelsea football shorts – punch and kick her
The female police officer is struck on the head by an object held by one of the men protesting in the Buterere neighbourhood of Bujumbura
A helmeted police officer and another man in a black polo shirt attempt to hold back the crowds throwing stones and kicking at her
A man carrying a large knife is seen among the rioters who appear to have been attempting to kill the female police officer
At least one protester died in today’s violence, while two others were reportedly killed overnight in a grenade explosion.
The latest deaths bring the number killed in more than two weeks of anti-government protests to more than 20 and come as African leaders prepare to hold a crisis meeting in Tanzania tomorrow.
Over 50,000 Burundians have fled into neighbouring nations since the unrest began.
Leaders of the five-nation East African Community – made up of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda as well as Burundi – are due to meet in Dar es Salaam tomorrow.
Democratic Republic of Congo President Joseph Kabila, South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and the US top diplomat for Africa Linda Thomas-Greenfield will also attend.
This morning police in Bujumbura opened fire on protesters in an apparent attempt to scatter crowds who wanted to attack the house of a police officer.
Reporters at the scene also said they had witnessed two other people suffering from gunshot wounds – one of them a boy of around 10 who had been hit in the arm.
In another part of the capital, officers fired tear gas to break up a crowd of some 200 youths.
While the police have ripped down barricades on main roads, side streets in key opposition areas remain blocked, guarded by angry demonstrators.
Protection: The female police officer manages to get hold of a gun as the man in black gets between her and the furious protesters
The female officer looks anguished while a policeman wearing a helmet and carrying a gun pleads with the demonstrators to withdraw
The bloodied female officer cowers in terror as she makes her way along a road in the Buterere neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi
The man in the black t-shirt comforts the female officer and her colleagues finally manage to take control of the situation
A senior police officer manages to escort the woman away from the scene while the stone-carrying protesters argue among themselves
Painful: The injured female officer is eventually helped from the scene by two male colleagues after escaping the rampaging mob
Today’s violence comes just a week after protesters burned a man to death in Bujumbura because they believed he was a part of the ruling party’s militant youth wing – and a protester was shot amid political tension caused by the president’s campaign for an unconstitutional third term.
An eyewitness said the crowd ‘put tyres around his neck and then burned him’.
It was also claimed that a protester was shot dead as police shot into the crowds to disperse the demonstrators.
The mob believed the man they burned alive to be a member of Imbonerakure, a youth militia for the ruling CNDD-FDD party, which they claim attacked them last week.
The group has been accused of widespread human rights abuses in the past.
The Government denied the claim that the Imbonerakure has orchestrated attacks on opposition groups and condemned the killing. A presidential spokesman said the government should take ‘strenuous measures’ to prevent them in the future.
Officers opened fire on demonstrators amid furious clashes on the streets of the capital Bujumbura, as Pierre Nkurunziza defied international pressure to cease his latest campaign for president
At least one protester is understood to have died in today’s violence, while two others were reportedly killed overnight in a grenade explosion
A policeman runs with a detained protester during a protest in Buterere neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi this morning
This morning police in Bujumbura opened fire on protesters in an apparent attempt to scatter crowds who wanted to attack the house of a police officer
Sickening: One of the rioters poses with the body of a dead barn owl tied to a cross, in what is believed to be a political gesture
A protestor holds up a dead owl attached to a stick. The symolb is intended to denigrate Burundi’s ruling party, whose emblem is an eagle
A policeman detains a protester during a protest in Buterere neighbourhood of Bujumbura this afternoon
The rioter argues with police officers are the accuse him of taking part in the attack on their female colleague
Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader from the Hutu majority who has been in power since 2005, has come under intense international pressure to withdraw from next month’s election and stand down.
Opposition groups insist that it is unconstitutional for him to run for more than two terms.
But he argues that his first presidential term did not count as he was elected by parliament, not directly by the people.
‘The presidents should be clear with Nkurunziza… they must tell him to leave for the good of everybody,’ said Aremus, a 24-year old protester.
‘The summit tomorrow is a test… the heads of state must show their maturity in crisis management by telling Nkurunziza to leave,’ said Donatien, manning one of the street barricades.
The clashes between security forces and demonstrators have raised fears of a return to violence in the central African state, which is still recovering from a brutal 13-year civil war that ended in 2006.
The European Union and United States called Monday for the elections set for late June to be delayed.
A policeman runs in front of a burning barricade during a protest in the Buterere neighbourhood of Bujumbura, Burundi this morning
Police officers fire guns and teargas towards protesters throwing stones in a suburb of Burundi’s capital this afternoon
Casual: Two men walk in front of burning barricade in the Burundian capital of Bujumbura earlier this morning
Protesters run away from police and behind a bruning barricade during a protest in Buterere neighbourhood of Bujumbura this morning
Attacking the police: Protesters throw stones at police during a furious demonstration in the capital Bujumbura today
Officers fired tear gas to break up a crowd of some 200 stone-throwing youths in Bujumbura earlier this morning
On the run: Protesters run away from police during a protest in Buterere neighbourhood of Bujumbura this morning
A policeman stands in front of a burnt barricade in Bujumbura. Violence in the Burundian capital is continuing this afternoon
African Union Commission chief Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma last week warned the time was not right for elections, and that it was ‘clear that there shouldn’t be a third term.’
But Nkurunziza said in a BBC interview that postponing the vote would worsen the situation.
‘I can tell you that for enduring stability in Burundi you can’t say that you can’t organise elections,’ Nkurunziza said. ‘There would be many violence and many problems.’
In Bujumbura’s Musaga district, some 300 women marched singing and chanting slogans against a third term.
‘No to the third term for Nkurunziza,’ one group shouted.
Asked to rule on the third-term issue, the constitutional court found in Nkurunziza’s favour but not before one of the judges fled the country claiming its members were subject to death threats.
‘Today we are optimistic that the elections will be very peaceful, transparent and also fair,’ Nkurunziza said. ‘We can assure (you) that we will accept the outcome of the ballot box.’