Washington (AFP) - The United States strongly condemned a grenade attack in the Burundi capital and called on President Pierre Nkurunziza to postpone legislative elections to avoid further unrest and violence.
Weeks of unrest in Bujumbura continued Friday, when demonstrations against Nkurunziza saw two protesters shot dead and two others wounded in a separate grenade attack.
"The United States strongly condemns the May 29 grenade attack in Bujumbura, and the continued violence in Burundi," US State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said in a statement.
"We are deeply concerned that the recent grenade attacks, violence perpetrated by the ruling party Imbonerakure youth militia, and continued restrictions on peaceful assembly and the media are undermining efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the current crisis."
Rathke said Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term had destabilized Burundi, and he called on the president to postpone the June 5 elections.
"This environment is not conducive to the holding of credible, free, fair and democratic elections," he said.
But Burundi's government insisted Friday that the first stage of the controversial elections would go ahead next week despite the crisis.
Additionally, Rathke said the US was taking steps to impose visa restrictions against those responsible for inciting violence.