AFRICA: Attempted Coup in Burundi Reportedly Fails
The Coup That Wasn’t.
In Bujumbura, Burundi today (May 14) the presidential office said President Pierre Nkurunziza is back in the Central African country — rocked this week by an attempted coup.
Nkurunziza’s office said the president salutes the army, police and Burundian people. Security forces are looking for the coup leaders so they can be brought to justice, the presidential office said. But the Voice of America website said it is not yet possible to verify if the president has returned to Burundi.
The coup broke out after weeks of protests in tiny Burundi following Nkurunziza’s announcement he would seek a third term if office, which critics said is barred by the country’s constitution. A senior advisor to Nkurunziza said the election is a constitutional mandate and Burundi must be careful not to create an institutional vacuum, VoA reported.
Meanwhile, one of the renegade generals who tried to seize power in Burundi says he recognizes that their attempt to overthrow the president has failed, the BBC reports, quoting an AFP story. General Cyrille Ndayirukiye told the AFP news agency that most in the military wanted to keep the current government in power.
Throughout the day, there were fatal clashes in the Bujumbura, leaving at least five soldiers dead. The whereabouts of the man who launched the coup, Major General Godefroid Niyombare, are unknown.
Before announcing his return, loyalists of the president said they were in control of the major strategic assets, such as the airport and presidential offices. They also said they still controlled the state broadcaster despite the heavy fighting, according to Al Jazeera.
Nkurunziza, the president, was in Tanzania at a summit of African leaders when General Niyombare — was fired as intelligence chief in February — declared he was dismissing the president and his government. A day later, Army Chief of Staff General Prime Niyongabo said the coup had failed, Al Jazeera reported. “Loyal forces are still controlling all strategic points,” the chief of staff said in a state radio broadcast.