Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza radio broadcast was interrupted by gunfire, as he was attending a crisis summit with other East African leaders in Tanzania. The ongoing coup fears have been fueled by a statement of a top Army General, Godefroid Niyombareh, who allegedly declared that the President Nkurunziza has been overthrown and that a national salvation committee has been formed to govern the country.
News that the president has been deposed were welcome with cheers of jubilation in the streets of the capital Bujumbura. The EU election monitoring in the country, Pierre Claver has confirmed the coup unfolding and asserted that the people were already celebrating in Burundi. In the same time, two private radio stations have been restored, after being shut down by the government.
Behind the coup attempt is the fact that Nkurunziza might seek a third term as Burundi president, forbidden by the political agreement which put an end in 2003 to the 10 years civil war. During the civil war, more than 300,000 people died in the clashes between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority.
Outside the country, Nkurunziza has dubbed the coup attempts as a joke and invited the plotters to surrender, in the radio broadcast. But to prevent a revisit of the genocide from the civil war, a coup attempt has been officially declared in Burundi. The street fights between the protesters and the government forces indicate that the ongoing coup is only at its early stages.
By Lucky Graziano
Reuters – Crowds cheer as Burundi army officer says he has deposed absent president
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