Story of a man who narrowly escaped lynching by a Burundi mob

  • AP, Bujumbura, Burundi
  • Updated: May 08, 2015 01:36 IST

Violence hit Burundi's capital again on Thursday and one man in particular narrowly escaped being killed by a mob, and he had to dive into a sewer to survive.

Protesters were angry at attacks by the Imbonerakure, the feared youth wing of the ruling party, on those demonstrating against the decision by Burundi's president to run for a third term. The protesters decided to retaliate.

The crowd walked the streets of a neighborhood, telling people to join the protest or else. Some joined; a few ran away.

They reached the house of a man identified as Jean Claude Niyonzima, and by then they were a mob. They believed him to be a member of the Imbonerakure. What followed next is best told by these pictures:

They grabbed him and attacked Niyonzima (C) with sticks and stones. Some protesters had knives and machetes, but apparently did not use them.

Niyonzima kept trying to escape. While a woman can be seen screaming at some in the mob.

Cornered and bleeding Niyonzima begged for his life

He finally got away and fled into the wide sewer under a hail of stones, and he sought shelter under a boarded section.

Some members of the mob tried to go after him and sought to flush him out.

Soldiers, who have been acting as a buffer between protesters and the police for days, showed up.

Soldiers dispersed the mob

Niyonzima emerged, his hands together in front of him in a beseeching gesture as he asked the rifle-toting soldiers for help.

Shirtless, he sat on the ground next to a wall under the soldiers' protection.

Soldiers seen pulling out another man who had been wounded by the mob

(All images from AP)

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