Army chief says coup fails in Burundi

Burundi's army chief says coup against President Pierre Nkurunziza fails, opponents denied claims

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Burundi's armed forces chief General Prime Niyongabo said early on Thursday that the attempted coup had failed, but the general’s claim was not immediately confirmed.

Burundi's former intelligence chief announced on Wednesday President Pierre Nkurunziza had been “dismissed” following two weeks of violent crackdowns on protests across the country.

Major General Godefroid Niyombare, who Nkurunziza fired from his post as intelligence chief in February, told reporters gathered at a military barracks where Nkurunziza had been dismissed by the country’s security forces.

"The attempted coup by General Godefroid Niyombare has been stopped," said General Prime Niyongabo.

He also said the presidency and presidential palace were secured by the president's backers and that they were under control.

Niyongabo’s claims were immediately denied by Nkurunziza’s opponents in the country and no further information was gathered from Burundi on the issue.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported on early Thursday heavy gunfire was heard near the national radio and television station in the Burundi capital.

The central African country has been hit by protests against Nkurunziza's running for a third term as Burundi's constitution stipulates that a president can only serve for two terms.

However, Nkurunziza's supporters said he could run again because he was selected for his first term by lawmakers and not through elections.

Dozens of people died, with one man being burned alive during a massive demonstration in Bujumbura on May 7. Protesters claimed the man had opened fire at them during past marches against president Nkurunziza.

TRTWorld and agencies