World

50,000 people flee Burundi to neighboring countries ahead of June elections

  • Exiled Vice President of Burundi's constitutional court, Sylvere Nimpagaritse, speaks to the media in Kigali, Rwanda Thursday, May 7, 2015. Nimpagaritse, who is in exile in Rwanda, said Thursday that the Burundian constitutional court was forced to validate President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to seek a third term in office after the judges started receiving threatening phone calls which forced him to flee and the remaining judges to change their decision in Nkurunziza's favor. (AP Photo/Denyse Uwera)

    Exiled Vice President of Burundi's constitutional court, Sylvere Nimpagaritse, speaks to the media in Kigali, Rwanda Thursday, May 7, 2015. Nimpagaritse, who is in exile in Rwanda, said Thursday that the Burundian constitutional court was forced to validate President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to seek a third term in office after the judges started receiving threatening phone calls which forced him to flee and the remaining judges to change their decision in Nkurunziza's favor. (AP Photo/Denyse Uwera)  (The Associated Press)

  • A police officer keeps an eye on demonstrators as a water canon clears barricades in the Nyakabyga district of Bujumbura, Burundi, Friday, May 8, 2015. President Pierre Nkurunziza's officially filed to become a candidate for a potential third term in office. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

    A police officer keeps an eye on demonstrators as a water canon clears barricades in the Nyakabyga district of Bujumbura, Burundi, Friday, May 8, 2015. President Pierre Nkurunziza's officially filed to become a candidate for a potential third term in office. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)  (The Associated Press)

  • A man walks past police securing bulldozers and water canons used to clear the barricades in the Nyakabyga district of Bujumbura, Burundi, Friday, May 8, 2015. President Pierre Nkurunziza's officially filed to become a candidate for a potential third term in office. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

    A man walks past police securing bulldozers and water canons used to clear the barricades in the Nyakabyga district of Bujumbura, Burundi, Friday, May 8, 2015. President Pierre Nkurunziza's officially filed to become a candidate for a potential third term in office. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)  (The Associated Press)

The U.N. refugee agency says more than 50,000 Burundians have fled to neighboring countries fearing violence ahead of the June 26 elections.

Adrian Edwards, a United Nations High Commission for Refugees spokesman, said Friday that a majority of the refugees are women and children, including a large number of unaccompanied children.

He said Rwanda is hosting the largest number of refugees with 25,000 followed by Tanzania with 17,696 and Congo with 8,000. He said the refugees said they are fleeing Burundi because of harassment and intimidation.

At least 13 people have died and 216 wounded in nearly two weeks of protests in Burundi triggered by President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to seek a third term in office.