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Voters in Burundi went to the polls Wednesday in a fraught election to replace President Pierre Nkurunziza. The main opposition leader is already accusing the ruling party of voter fraud and abuse and threatening to challenge the results even before they are announced, a move observers worry could fuel political violence.
Turnout was high Wednesday despite the risk of COVID-19 and a campaign that was marred by attacks on opposition supporters. Human rights observers have accused the ruling party’s youth militia, the Imbonerakure, of routinely murdering, torturing and harassing perceived opponents. While reporting from Burundi for WPR last fall, Sam Mednick spoke to two alleged members of the militia, who said they had been ordered to ramp up intimidation in the months ahead of the vote.