Burundi coup leaders arrested and president back in charge, say reports 

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May 15,Burundi: Three renegade generals who launched a failed coup against Burundi’s president have been arrested, reports say.But their leader, Gen Godefroid Niyombare, is still “on the run”, according to a presidential spokesman.

Gen Niyombare, who launched the coup attempt on Wednesday, told the AFP news agency: “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.Five soldiers were killed in clashes in the capital, Bujumbura, on Thursday.

“We have decided to surrender,” Gen Niyombare told AFP. He added that troops loyal to the president were approaching him.Another of the renegade generals, Gen Cyrille Ndayirukiye, admitted earlier that the attempt to overthrow the president had failed.Thousands celebrated on the streets of the capital after Gen Niyombare announced the takeover on national radio on Wednesday whilst President Nkurunziza attended a summit in Tanzania.

This followed weeks of protests against Mr Nkurunziza’s decision to seek a third term in office, an apparently unconstitutional move, causing tens of thousands to flee the country.The Burundi military claim that they control the city’s airport and national state TV and radio stations. BBC reporters say the streets seem to be mainly in the control of loyalist police.

The military had said that they believe the number of troops supporting the coup has dwindled.This appears to be in line with Gen Ndayirukiye’s comment that most in the military wanted to keep the current government in power.

“Personally, I recognise that our movement has failed,” he said, according to AFP.”We were faced with an overpowering military determination to support the system in power,” he added.

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.

The Oslo Times

Source: AFP

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