Coup Attempt In Burundi? | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Coup Attempt In Burundi?

Posted: May 13, 2015 at 2:06 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

A top Burundian general, General Godefroid Niyombare,  on Wednesday, May 13, 2015, announced the overthrow of President Pierre Nkurunziza.

The general cited weeks of violent protests against the president’s bid to stand for a third term as reason for the overthrow.

However, President Nkurunziza who is currently at a summit in Tanzania discussing his decision to run for a third term, said  that the attempted coup had “failed”, in a message posted on Twitter.

Gen. Niyombareh  earlier told reporters that senior officers were “dismissing” President Nkurunziza amid unrest over his re-election bid and that a national salvation committee had been set up to run the country.

General Niyombare, a powerful former intelligence chief, announced the coup attempt hours after the president left for neighbouring Tanzania for talks with regional leaders on ending the crisis.

“President Pierre Nkurunziza is removed from office, the government is dissolved. All people are asked to respect the lives and property of others,” General Niyombare said in the radio broadcast.

Niyombare is a highly respected figure who was sacked from his position as the central African nation’s powerful chief of intelligence in February.

The general said on private radio that he was committed to the democratic process and would work with others towards holding elections.

He said he would form a “Committee for the restoration of national harmony,” a temporary body whose “mission, among others, is the restoration of national unity… and the resumption of the electoral process in a peaceful and fair environment.”

However, President Nkurunziza tweeted that the situation was under control.

“There is no coup in Burundi,” the message from the presidency read.

The coup was announced hours after President Nkurunziza left for neighbouring Tanzania for talks with regional leaders on ending weeks of violent protests.

Over 20 people have been killed and scores wounded since late April, when Burundi’s ruling CNDD-FDD party nominated Nkurunziza to stand for re-election in June 26 polls.

Some weeks of clashes between security forces and demonstrators have raised fears of a return to widespread violence in Burundi, which is still recovering from a brutal 13-year civil war that ended in 2006.

Meanwhile, the African Union, European Union and United States have condemned the actions of Nkurunziza, a former rebel leader from the Hutu majority who has been in power for a decade.