Burundi votes in disputed presidential elections

BUJUMBURA: Burundi began voting in its disputed presidential election Tuesday with a low turnout in several polling stations in the capital following a night of explosions and gunfire in opposition strongholds where residents oppose President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid for a third term.

The body of a man identified as an opposition official lay on the road in the largely opposition Nyakabiga district, where residents alleged that police and intelligence officials exploded grenades and fired guns most of the night to frighten them from demonstrating against the president's candidacy.

Nyakabiga administrator Eric Nkurunziza confirmed that the man was an opposition official.

Presidential adviser for Information and Media Willy Nyamitwe refuted claims that police were responsible for the shooting.

"Police were ordered not to shoot at night. It was the civilians with firearms who were shooting," he said. He said the shooting and explosions were in Nyakabiga, Musaga and Jabe areas of Bujumbura.

A spot check of polling stations in the three districts showed few voters except some military men from a barracks in Musaga.

Honore Niyomukiza, who is in charge of voting centers in Kamenge District, said the gunshots and explosions have kept away voters, though most polling stations opened around 6 a.m. or 7 a.m.

Unlike the capital city a high turn-out was reported in Nkurunziza's hometown of Ngozi in northern Burundi.