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Burundi Elections: Country on Edge

Thursday, June 24, 2010

BUJUMBURA, Burundi -- For the capital of a country just years removed civil war, this steamy lakeside city is surprisingly cosmopolitan. Though Burundi, according to IMF statistics, has the lowest per capita GDP in the world, no one would guess from Bujumbura's celebrated nightclubs or its colonial era Art Deco buildings. In the hills that rise from the plain of the city center, shantytowns have been razed to make room for McMansion-style houses, reflecting a growing middle class that's also on display at the city's lakeside. There, on a recent Sunday, throngs of urban Burundians, ex-pats and international travelers lounged at French-accented bars along the white sand of Lake Tanganyika -- touted as the finest inland beach in Africa.

But while the beach atmosphere did not show it, this city famed for its joie de vivre is currently on edge. ...

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