Jean Claude Niyonzima, a suspected member of the ruling party's Imbonerakure youth militia, is restrained as a mob gathers around his house, as protests continue against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term in office in the Cibitoke district of Bujumbura, Burundi on May 7, 2015.
Jean Claude Niyonzima, a suspected member of the ruling party's Imbonerakure youth militia, is restrained as a mob gathers around his house, as protests continue against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term in office in the Cibitoke district of Bujumbura, Burundi on May 7, 2015.Jerome Delay—AP
Jean Claude Niyonzima, a suspected member of the ruling party's Imbonerakure youth militia, is restrained as a mob gathers around his house, as protests continue against President Pierre Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term in office in the Cibitoke district of Bujumbura, Burundi on May 7, 2015.
Jean Claude Niyonzima pleads for his life as he is surrounded at his house.
Niyonzima flees from his house while surrounded by a mob.
Niyonzima flees from his house into a sewer under a hail of stones thrown by a mob.
Niyonzima falls in the sewer as he flees from his house under a hail of stones thrown by a mob.
Demonstrators prepare to flush out Niyonzima who escaped a lynching by escaping into a sewer.
Soldiers disperse a crowd by firing into the air after demonstrators cornered Niyonzima in a sewer.
Niyonzima pleads with soldiers to protect him from a mob of demonstrators after he emerged from hiding in a sewer.
Niyonzima sits under soldiers' protection from a mob of demonstrators after he came out of hiding in a sewer.
Jean Claude Niyonzima, a suspected member of the ruling party's Imbonerakure youth militia, is restrained as a mob gathe
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Jerome Delay—AP
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Man Survives Mob Attack in Burundi as Protests Intensify

May 07, 2015

The mob knew where to go, says Associated Press photographer Jerome Delay. “They went straight to his house, found him, and started beating him up with sticks and stones.”

On Thursday, in Bujumbura, Burundi, Jean Claude Niyonzima, a man suspected of being a member of ruling party's Imbonerakure youth militia, came close to being lynched.

Since April 25, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would seek a third term in office, the Great Lakes country has been the scene of violent protests. Burundi's constitution says the president should be elected by universal direct suffrage for a mandate of five years, renewable one time, according to the Associated Press.

The protests remain localized, said Delay, taking place mostly in strongholds of the opposition, but “they are spreading,” he tells TIME. “There have been attempts by small groups to hit the [city’s] business district, but they were quickly repressed. Protesters have blocked streets with barricades. There is a strong police presence throughout, with the military acting as a buffer between police and protesters.”

But the protesters are getting more organized, and the police is now running out of tear gas. “They have started using live bullets,” said Delay, who received a call Thursday morning from a colleague, freelance photographer Phil Moore, that trouble was brewing.

In the Cibitoke district of Bujumbura, a dead protester laid in a pool of blood—he had been shot in the head. “Many soldiers came to the scene,” said Delay. “They were being yelled at by protesters who felt they had failed to protect them.” A mob formed and started marching. And that’s when they reached Jean Claude Niyonzima’s house.

“The attack was a flashback to scenes I had witnessed in Bangui last year,” said the photographer, who covered the violent conflict in Central African Republic in 2013 and 2014. “The zero tolerance for the other, the rage of revenge after one of yours was killed. They must have known where to go. They went straight to his house.”

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Niyonzima tried to escape several times—cornered between two buildings, begging for his life, the entire scene felt like an interrogation, said Delay. “He was grabbed, kicked, hit, stoned, but still he had the survival strength to flee into a wide sewer under a hail of stone.”

Then, the army rushed in, firing shots in the air to disperse the crowd. “The soldiers pulled him out of the sewers and kept his assailants at bay,” Delay said. But it only took a minute for the protestors to find another victim, just a few meters up the street. A still unidentified man was beaten and left for dead.

“Where this will go is anyone’s guess,” said Delay. “Members of the civil society have asked protesters to refrain from mounting such attacks, but I’ve just learned that a man was burned to death elsewhere in town.”

Mikko Takkunen, who edited this photo essay, is an Associate Photo Editor at TIME. Follow him on Twitter @photojournalism.

Olivier Laurent is the Editor of TIME LightBox. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @olivierclaurent

A Year of War in Central African Republic

BanguiA young girls stands in the doorway of a house. A member of her family, 21 year old Fleuri Doumana, was killed two days earlier by a grenade launched by a member of Seleka. The rebel group that took power in March 2013 carries out numerous exactions such as murder, kidnapping, and torture.
A young girls stands in the doorway of a house, two days after a member of her family was killed by a grenade said to be launched by a member of Séléka. Bangui, Central African Republic. Nov. 14, 2013.William Daniels—Panos for TIME
BanguiA young girls stands in the doorway of a house. A member of her family, 21 year old Fleuri Doumana, was killed two days earlier by a grenade launched by a member of Seleka. The rebel group that took power in March 2013 carries out numerous exactions such as murder, kidnapping, and torture.
BanguiDemonstrators gather on a street in Bangui, the capital, to call for the resignation of interim president Michel Djotodia following the murder of Judge Modeste Martineau Bria by members of the Seleka. 30 minutes after this picture was taken, Seleka militia shot into the crowd, killing two and wounding another.
BanguiA Christian man is destroying burn out cars in rage, next to a looted mosque that was set on fire earlier, in the capital Bangui.
BanguiA soldier from the national army, Central African Army Forces (FACA), wounded in fighting with Seleka rebels waits to be treated at the Community Hospital.
BanguiCentral African Republic army soldiers (FACA) mourn the death of a colleague, who was killed by members of the Seleka rebel group.
Antibalakas (christian self defense group)  in the bush between Bossangoa and Bossembelé. Antibalakas first took arms to protect their families from the Seleka exactions (murder, rape, robbery). But some decided to take revenge over the muslims community as the Seleka is made only of muslim men, which made the tensions between the 2 communities getting very bad.
Between Bossemtpele & ZawaPart of a group of several hundred of Anti-Balaka militias return from an attack on a Peul (Fulani - a Muslim tribe) village.
Gulinga, 5 km from Grimari.Relatives mourn the death of two men and one woman, murdered by Seleka fighters shortly before, in the village of Gulinga. They had accused them of being Antibalakas. The woman was killed as collateral damage” according to a Seleka colonel who admitted the killing.  Grimari has been under attack from Antibalakas for two days since it is the gateway to the Ouaka region which is still controlled by Seleka fighters whose general Mahamat Darrassa is a conciliatory figure, having dislodged other Seleka units who were wreaking havoc among local communities. French peacekeepers trust Darassa, viewing him as the only reliable safeguard against sectarian violence in the Ouaka region.
Bangui.A man accused of robbery is detained at the police station. He was about to be killed by the guard of the General direction of work.While we arrived there, the guard was saying he wanted to kill him but left when he saw us. A dozen person around, some in suits, civil servants working at the direction, were claiming he should be killed.
A woman cries the death of her 23 years old daughter Fleuri Doumana who was killed by a grenade launched in her courtyard by a member of the Seleka. The rebel group that took power in March 2013 carries out numerous exactions such as murders, kidnapping, torture.... Bangui.
In Bossangoa, about 40 000 displaced people, mostly christians who left their village attacked by the Seleka, took refuge around the cathedral. The people live there with low access to health, very low food and in bad sanitary conditions.
Nov. 16, 2014.
BanguiA man prepares a body for funeral at the morgue surrounded by Some of the dozens of bodies of Christians presumably killed by Seleka militia in revenge for attacks by Christian Anti Balaka militia on Bangui.
Central African RepublicBanguiRelatives touch the coffin at the funeral of Judge Modeste Martineau Bria who was killed by Seleka fighters in Bangui. The murder of Bria led to an outpouring of public anger at the reign of fear imposed by Seleka fighters who have refused to disband following the December 2012 coup against former president Francois Bozize.
Bangui.French troops are trying to save a muslim man who was attacked by christians while he was in jail, accused of being a Seleka member, responsible for many exactions.
Bangui.Mpoko airport IDP camp where 100 000 people live (Jan-fev)
BanguiA makeshift camp built by around 100,000 internally displaced people near Bangui's Mpoko airport. Though food is short and sanitary conditions are poor, people have fled to the airport area where they feel safe from attack from Seleka fighters due to the French army presence near the airport.
BanguiInternally displaced people (IDP) queue for food at a Don Bosco centre in Bangui. Food supplies are low and there is not enough for everyone. Some 18,000 Christian IDPs took refuge here, fearing violence from mainly Muslim Seleka fighters who have been clashing with Christian Anti Balaka fighters in the capital, Bangui.
BambariA woman cooks in the Bambari hospital coumpound.
Boda.Peul (muslim tribe) children suffering from malnutrition and diarrhea in the enclave of Boda. About 11000 muslims are trapped in Boda center with low food and very low access to health. Children suffer from malnutrition and diarrhea, wounded and sick people can't be treated well as there are only two nurses and a doctor from IOM who comes from time to time. They miss medicines and tools. Any muslims who try to get out of the enclave can be shot by antibalakas. Nearby, there are also 9000 christians displaced by the fighting between the two communities.
Between Bozoum & BossempteleThe remnants of houses burnt by Seleka forces.
Ndassima gold mine. The gold mines in Ndassima were run by Aurafrique, a subsidiary of the Canadian company Axmin, before Seleka rebels managed to take over the site following a 2013 offensive.Several hundred artisanal miners produce an estimated 15 kg per month. Séléka forces under General Ali Daras are in charge of the security of the site and to road to access it from Bambari. According to artisanal miners, local traders and a Séléka commander, soldiers are instructed not to engage in commercial activities and do not levy taxes. They do get contributions from the population when responding to incidents like theft. Most of the gold produced in Ndassima is trafficked to Cameroon through Bangui, by air and over land. In late August, 27 miners died during a landslide (on the left of the picture).
Former child soldiers playing war games as part of their rehabilitation work. According to UNICEF psychologist in charge of them, such play help them to deal with their past.
Bangui.Fishermen on the Oubangui river on early morning.
BoaliAn alter boy prepares for a mass at a church where the priest offered sanctuary to a large group of Muslims who were the target of Anti-Balaka forces.
Boda.Elderly Hamadou Magazi has Tuberculoses and can't leave the enclave to be treated. About 11000 muslims are trapped in Boda center with low food and very low access to health. Children suffer from malnutrition and diarrhea, wounded and sick people can't be treated well as there are only two nurses and a doctor from IOM who comes from time to time. They miss medicines and tools. Any muslims who try to get out of the enclave can be shot by antibalakas. Nearby, there are also 9000 christians displaced by the fighting between the two communities.
BanguiA wounded muslim man lay on the ground after being attacked by dozen of angry christians saying he is a Seleka member. He is protected by MISCA and french soldiers but he will died from his wounds before a medic arrived.
Bodies of christian, mostly antibalakas, laying down in a street in Bangui, on the day following a major attack in several places in the city.
BanguiMalouloud Mahamat Amat, 30, walks in his former coumpound of 5Kilo, in Bangui, where plants obvertook his house and his family's that hosted 43 people and was attacked by Anti Balakas on the 23rd of March by handgenade. 8 members of his family died, including 2 brothers. He is the only one of the family who stayed in Bangui.
A young girls stands in the doorway of a house, two days after a member of her family was killed by a grenade said to be
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William Daniels—Panos for TIME
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