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[Newsview]Burundi coup leaders arrested[Burundi coup]
« on: May 15, 2015, 01:02:38 PM »



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Burundi coup leaders arrested

Burundi coup bid: Some coup leaders arrested


    15 May 2015

  • From the section Africa



                        Tens of thousands of people have fled since the unrest began last month


Three leaders of a failed coup against Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza have been arrested, his spokesman says.

However coup leader Gen Godefroid Niyombare is "still on the run".

Earlier, Gen Niyombare told the AFP news agency that he and his followers were going to surrender, adding: "I hope they won't kill us".

President Pierre Nkurunziza has tweeted he is back home. He was in Tanzania when the coup attempt against his bid to seek a third term was launched.

He is expected to make a national address.

Follow BBC updates on the crisis

'Held accountable'

Renegade general and former defence minister Gen Cyrille Ndayirukiye was one of the three coup leaders arrested on Friday, Mr Nkurunziza's spokesman, Gervais Abayeho, told the BBC World Service.

"If they are found to be among the coup leaders they will have to face justice," Mr Abayeho said, adding that it was only a small section of the army who had rebelled and denying a division in the army.

Security Minister Gabriel Nizigama told the BBC's Maud Jullien in Bujumbura that two police commissioners and about a dozen other police officers had also been arrested after a brief exchange of fire at one of the generals' houses where they were hiding.

Gen Ndayirukiye earlier admitted that the attempt to overthrow the president had failed. He said coup leaders had been "faced with an overpowering military determination to support the system in power".

Burundi former Defence Minister Cyrille Ndayirukiye points to a direction during a attempted coup in the capital Bujumbura, on 13 May 2015.

                        Ex-Defence Minister Gen Cyrille Ndayirukiye (C) was among the coup leaders arrested on Friday


Meanwhile, civil society groups in Burundi are calling on people to return to the streets after weeks of protests against against Mr Nkurunziza's decision to seek a third term in office.

"Our movement had nothing to do with the attempted coup or the failed coup," Gordien Niyungeko, of rights organisation Focode, told Reuters news agency.

Many view his bid as an unconstitutional move. Tens of thousands of people fled the country.

Thousands celebrated on the streets of the capital after Gen Niyombare announced the takeover on national radio on Wednesday, while President Nkurunziza was at a summit in Tanzania.


                        Protesters took to the streets to celebrate news of the coup

Bujumbura, Burundi, 14 May 2015

                        The signs of heavy fighting were seen over Bujumbura on Thursday


The streets of Bujumbura were reported to be calm on Friday morning.

It comes after a day of heavy fighting for control of the national state TV and radio stations, which the Burundi military say they now control. Five soldiers were killed.

BBC reporters say the capital seems to be mainly in the control of loyalist police. Army chief of staff Gen Prime Niyongabo says the military is "in control of all strategic points in the country".


What's behind the coup bid?

Timeline of events


In a Twitter posting on Thursday, President Nkurunziza said: "I thank the army and police for their patriotism. Above all I thank Burundians for their patience."

A civilian jumps over a burning barricade of rocks erected by residents to protect themselves from police, in a northern district of the capital Bujumbura, in Burundi 14 May 2015

                        Residents have erected barricades in the city

Pierre Nkurunziza, file pic

                        Mr Nkurunziza has ruled out delaying next month's elections


The unrest began after the 51-year-old president said he would run for re-election in June.

Opponents said this contravened the constitution, which states a president can only be elected to two terms.

Mr Nkurunziza argued he was entitled to a third term because he was first appointed to the role by parliament in 2005, rather than elected.

Earlier this month, the country's constitutional court upheld his interpretation.

More than 20 people have died and tens of thousands of Burundians have fled to neighbouring states since the unrest began.

His spokesman says that elections will continue as planned.


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