People in Burundi are voting amid widespread tension over President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to stand for a third consecutive term.
Polls opened at 06:00 local time (04:00 GMT), after a night of gunfire and explosions claimed two lives in the capital Bujumbura.
The president’s critics says the vote is unconstitutional, as he is only entitled to stand for two terms only.
The government accuses the opposition of provoking violent protests.
The president’s office has described the latest protests as terrorist acts intended to disrupt the election.
Chief communications advisor Willy Nyamitwe said: “People do it to intimidate voters. They don’t want the voters to go to the polls.”