Two killed as Burundi soldier dies by own grenade

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Two civilians in Burundi died Tuesday when a grenade exploded in the hands of soldier apparently about to hurl it into a crowd, killing him too, a local government official said.

Four other civilians were wounded in the blast in the northern town of Ngozi, a stronghold district of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

“He removed the pin from one of two grenades, but it exploded in his hands and killed him on the spot as well as the bicycle taxi driver transporting him,” said the local government officer Radjabu Songambere.

Another man later died of his wounds in hospital.

“Everything indicates that the soldier wanted to carry out an attack,” Songambere said, adding it was not clear what his motive was.

The Ngozi region, some 130 kilometres (80 miles) north of the capital Bujumbura, has largely escaped over a year of violence since April 2015, when Nkurunziza launched his controversial and succesful third term bid – sparking street protests, a failed coup and a nascent rebellion.

Violence has left more than 500 people dead and forced more than 270,000 to flee the small central African country, according to the United Nations.

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